When I Was in Jail
At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. Revelation 4:2
Every Sunday morning, a buddy and I go to jail for a Bible study/recovery meeting. On our way in, we must pick up a radio to call the officers when we’re finished. Like all the doors in jail, the door to our meeting room is locked. To be let out, we must call on the radio. Once, I forgot to grab a radio and so, I had no way to contact the officers when we were done. I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck in jail forever, but still, I got a little panicky, realizing I had no way out. After maybe ten minutes of impatience, I exclaimed, There’s got to be some way out of this room! The inmates laughed. You don’t understand jail, do you? I wasn’t in charge. I couldn’t just leave. There was an authority greater than me, and I was subject to it. I didn’t like that feeling.
This is a life problem. I can recall as a child, wanting to grow up quickly so that I could make my own decisions. I thought, Even if I make terrible mistakes, at least they’ll be my mistakes. I was right – I did eventually make terrible mistakes. It’s not that I’m rebellious just to be rebellious. If you draw a line in the sand and tell me not to cross it, I won’t cross it just for the sake of defiance. If, however, there’s something I want on the other side of the line, then the line just doesn’t apply to me. I do what I want. This was my problem in my addiction. I knew the rules, but my appetite lay in opposition to the rules, so I followed my appetite. These rules don’t apply to me. I do what I want. This is my problem in my faith as well. I may believe in God, but that doesn’t automatically make me want to abandon my will for his.
In today’s passage, John described a throne in heaven, upon which sat none other than God himself. He made the world and he, not me, is in charge. He allows me to go my own way, defying his will, but he’s still in control. In his wisdom, God made the world in such a way that when I follow myself, I find misery. I don’t sit on the throne. It’s only in accepting this reality, in following his will instead of my own, that I may experience the authentic life, joy, and peace for which I was created. I am not in charge.