We escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap. The trap is broken, and we are free. Psalm 124:7
The whole world is under the sway of the wicked one. John's epistle
Seven years ago we lived in Massachusetts before moving to Georgia. Our cozy home there with the big front porch and shaded by massive black walnut trees was built in 1911. Beside the house -- erected on a stone foundation -- stood a two-story carriage house. Inside it were the stalls that once housed the horses that powered the carriages. Of all the houses we have lived in the one on East Main street was the most romantic and our favorite. Also, it sat on almost 2 acres that backed up to a protected wooded area. Our entire family made use of that oasis of trees. Justin, Josh, and their boyhood friends camped in those woods year round. Sandy and I took many a stroll hand-in-hand under the shaded canopy. Often I retreated to the woodland to soak-in the sounds of nature.
Back then my decompression time also consisted of building bird pens -- big bird pens -- ones big enough so my collection of game birds could fly. Pairs of golden pheasants, chukkas, ring-necked pheasants, and other fowl lived in some pretty impressive digs. Behind the carriage house I built a small chicken coop that housed Japanese round heads, Rhode Island reds, Rocks and other egg producers. A fighting gamecock stood as enforcer of the entire domicile. Feeding birds, seeing the chickens scratch out a living, gathering eggs, and watching the handsome rooster (Meg named him Kellogg) establish order in the kingdom of Cock-a-doodle-do was relaxing and provided an enjoyable hobby.
Reality . . . my birds were trapped.
One night a varmint of some kind burrowed under the chicken wire. Kellogg didn't give up his ground without a fight. The field of battle was strewn with signs of the struggle. Justin found Kellogg dead, and Molly, (Meg named her, too) the little, Japanese round-head badly mauled. I built her a separate shelter (chickens will kill another bird if it is bleeding) and nursed her back to health. Paradise lost.
After Kellogg was killed defending Miss Molly and his other ladies I never felt right about keeping my birds in captivity -- especially the game birds -- they belonged in the wild.
I opened the cages. I set them free.
Every human being escapes his or her mother's womb only to emerge into the trap or cage of this world -- a world under the sway of a sinister master. The deadliest trap is our own sin nature, and throughout life we forge thicker prison bars and strengthen the shackles by our own deeds. Some inmates are in the fortunate position of making their cell a pretty snazzy place -- a glance across the landscape suggests most people are free. It is a mirage -- they are not free. Closer scrutiny convincingly proves that they have no adequate defense or place to hide. Not even the fineries of this life can disguise the mauling and wounding the prowling lion has inflicted on them.
Christ loathed our captor. Our bondage brought him to tears. Loving concern sympathized with our plight. He came to break the trap. He broke the trap. He set us free!