This morning, Amanda Berry wakes up in her sister’s house in Ohio. It takes a while for her mind to register her new status of freedom. No more fear, no more abuse, no more confinement. Today, she can go out grocery shopping with her sister. She can go and buy some pretty clothes. Today, she can do anything any 27 year old would want to do. But she might need some more time.
Amanda Berry escaped the house of horror where she spent the last decade as a captive. Her desperate 911 call led to the discovery of two more women who lived in the same house under the dominance of three brothers in their 50’s. Amanda was 17 when she was kidnapped on her way home from her job at Burger King. Today, she is a mom to her six year old child. But Amanda herself, is a motherless child. Her mom died without ever knowing the return of her beloved daughter. What happened inside that house for the past 10 years will not be ignored by the media, I am sure. The abuse and horror the three women must have endured is beyond my imagination. Or I try not to imagine. It makes me shiver with fear just thinking about it.
10 years in captivity. 10 years inside a house with a man with an awfully impure heart. 10 years of darkness and fear. Pain is relative, and every pain is individual, and personal. Everyone has different degree of tolerance to pain, and different strength of mentality. But even so, the three women who lived a horrific life style for 10 years were amazingly strong. It is evident that the Lord has been with them, empowering their spirits every day, and every moment of their captivity. What kept them alive? What kept them keep on living? Faith? Hope for the freedom? The thoughts of their families?
This morning, as I was praying for the recovery of these strong women who are free now, I have realized how happy my last 10 years of battle against bipolar disorder have been compared to what these women had to live through. If they endured that, then there is nothing we cannot endure. Human spirit is unbreakable, and that is how God has created us. It can endure and suffer through anything. It only comes out stronger.
There are still many out there still in the darkness in so many forms. Many are held captive and tortured for political, religious, mental, spiritual and crime-related reasons. If the world seems it is getting darker and darker at a rapid pace to you, then it is because the world is indeed getting darker. It’s our reality.
“For there will be great anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.(Mark 13:19-20)”
Our reality is that we are going through the time of great calamity, and had the Lord not shortened these days of tribulation, there won’t be a single person that comes out alive. We must also not forget what the Lord has told us. He said, “When you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.(Mark 13:29)” He’s promising us his return, and to the eyes of the believers, it is quite evident that his return is very immediate.
The three women from Ohio remind us that eventually our dark times will be over and our captivity in this world will come to a stop. We will face Jesus one day and shout out with joy, “I’m here! I’m free now!”
So until then, we must bring Jesus to the door step. Like the neighbor who helped Amanda Berry break the door open, when they scream for help let’s run to the door step and break the door of confinement. When we protect each other, and fight against injustice in unison, we are stronger than we can ever imagine. When two or three people gather to pray, there, Jesus is. The family and friends kept vigil every year during the time Amanda Berry was missing. Their prayers and outcry were answered and the search is over. The lost women are found.
This story is no longer about missing and kidnapping. It is now a story of faith and love. It is a story of unfailing human spirit. Once again, we are reminded that reunion is a beautiful thing to behold. And the ultimate reunion awaits for us all in the bosom of God.