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Death had wrapped its ropes around me, and I was almost swallowed by its flooding waters. Psalm 18:4 (CEV)

Recently we went to a local museum to see a display on the ‘Real Pirates of the Caribbean’. It was an interesting display of artifacts from history and from the bottom of the sea.

There was one display that caught my mind and Psalm 18:4 reminds me of it. Hanging in one display was a metal cage approximately 8 feet long and in the shape of a human body. The corresponding sign told that this cage was used to execute pirates.

The man (or woman) was placed in the cage and the cage was subsequently staked in the sandy beach. As the tide came in, the cage would remain in place, the water would inch up the bodies of the victim and eventually submerge them. Death by drowning.

Imagine being in that cage as a pirate. You knew how unforgiving the sea was. You knew the tide and how it worked. You stood there in your cage and watched the tide grow closer. You felt the cold water inch up your body. You knew death was imminent and that there was nothing you could do about it. The cold ocean water reached your knees, your waist, your neck and finally, painfully you breathe your last.

History tells us that those living close to the shore would often hear the screams of the condemned begging for help, begging for someone to rescue them. Of course, even if some compassionate soul would try to rescue them, there was no hope, no way to stop the tide; no way to unlock the cage; no hope to bring them safely ashore. The very thing that brought them riches (the sea) was their ultimate demise.

Horrific as that scenario may be, we are surrounded by people who, like the executed pirates, are living in cages of their own. Some are cages they have built themselves on lie, on rebellious choice, one broken promise at a time. Others are victims of the brutality imposed on them. The reason for their cage is unimportant. The result is what is important.

For the pirate, there was no hope; no one with a key to open the cage and offer them freedom. For us we have someone who not only has a key to unlock the door, but will bring us safely ashore.

If you feel like the pirate; if you feel the cold waters of the ocean rising up your body; if you feel your own destruction is at hand and there is no hope, know that Jesus Christ offers you the escape you need to break free of your prison. His forgiveness is all you need to find new life.

The key to unlocking the door is simply asking him to forgive you of your sin and to empower you to live a life free of the despair and pain of your past.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for rescuing me from the destruction and despair of my past. Forgive me of the sins of my past. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to live life in the freedom only you can offer. Amen.

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