John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)
The pond was in a place called Jellyhill. My home was about six miles from its location. One summer, our street pack of adventurers decided to go over to the pond and play there all day long. Usually, war games were on our minds, and we spent the whole day shooting each other with sticks, dramatically falling down hillsides, and fighting in the heather. Sometimes, another street gang arrived and the throwing of rocks, stones, and clods of grass took place as we defended our heather forts and privileged play areas.
But one summer's day, things were different. A couple of street packs had arrived, and no-one was fighting. Instead, everyone had gathered around the pond. Hundreds of toads were in the water and could easily be picked up, so we set about collecting as many as possible. Our street gang managed to find an old discarded tin bucket, which we filled with both water and toads. We planned to set up our own street pond in someone's backyard and fill it with toads.
So, we spent most of the morning catching the toads. All of them were ugly and covered in slime, but boys being boys, we exulted in the hunt. Eventually, we had about thirty of them, and then, we began the six-mile trek home. It was both arduous and painful. None of us had realized how heavy water can get when you're carrying it for such a distance. It took us ages, especially when other pedestrians would stop us every five minutes to have a look. We gloried as they ogled the toads, and then, we quietly ignored their mocking laughter. We were on a mission, and nothing or nobody could stop us.
Nothing or nobody, that is, until we got home. When our mothers saw the number of toads, none of them would give us permission to set up our wildlife aquarium in their backyards. We all sat as glum as toads on our front porch steps. We realized that for the toads to survive, we would have to take them back, but the thought of retreating for six miles with a heavy can of water and toads was not very appealing.
Fortunately, salvation arrived in the form of one of our parents. He was a local policeman. When he saw our faces and all of the toads, he laughed out loud. Then, as he recognized our dilemma, he authoritatively said, "I see that you've taken these suspects into custody without the usual warrants. Under Scottish law, you're going to have to release them. Put them in the back of the car, and I'll take you over to the pond."
We were elated because of three things: we didn't have to carry the toads back; the toads were set free and would now survive; and we would be travelling in a police car! When we arrived back at the pond, there were still some other street gangs catching toads. As soon as they saw the police car, they fled in all directions and hid. They watched us pouring back the water and the toads into the pond. Our friend's father feigned giving us a lecture about wildlife by-laws. Now our hearts were doubly elated — our reputation as a street pack soared; after all, we had gotten into trouble with the police. It was a great end to a bad day.
Freedom from burdens, freedom to live, and freedom of faith are equally important to all believers in Christ. His mission is to rescue us from all that wears us down. His ministry is to help us discover abundance in our lives. And His purpose is to free us from the slavery of sin, the despair of the past, and the mistakes we have made, so that we can glorify, honour, and praise Him forevermore. No matter who we are or what we've done, our freedom is found in God's holy Son.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we rely upon You to rescue us from sin, to redeem our souls, and to restore us to the eternal environment of God's favour and love. We thank You for being our Saviour; we acknowledge that our lives are in Your hands; and our souls rejoice in Your grace. In Your holy name, we thankfully pray. Amen.