I've been thinking about a story our priest told during the homily on Sunday. He was talking about the Gospel which was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. He talked about our bandages that are wrapped around us and make us feel trapped. How when we are in this place we often feel like asking questions like, "Why is God doing this to me?" or "What have I done to deserve this?" "Why is this happening to me?" etc. We all want freedom when we feel bound and captive. He then went on to tell a story about a tribe in Africa. When someone commits serious crimes as punishment they get tossed into a pitch black cave with a bolder covering the entrance. However, there is another way out. If the criminal can find it, he will be free. If he doesn't, he will die in the cave.
So a man got put in the cave. On the roof of the cave he saw a very small hole of light. He thought that must be the way out. He fumbled in the dark to collect some rocks and pile them to so he could reach the top. When he touched that hole, he could not make it any bigger. Despite the way it appeared, it was not the exit to his freedom. A few days passed, and the other men in the tribe went to the cave. The criminal had died inside. The men felt compassion for him. Because he had died laying right next to the exit. He was right there but didn't even realize it!
The point of the story, is how we often look to find freedom in illusions. In things that really do not free us at all. We know Jesus is our freedom. He not only gives it to us, but he is also the one that guides us to wherever we need to go or whatever we need to do to be healed and unbound. I can see myself often in the man trapped in the cave. At least he stopped once he realized that wasn't the exit. I'd keep poking my darn finger in that hole thinking somehow it must work! Jesus desires our freedom even more than we do. For it is God that spoke and said "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11.