Speaking Of Life 2022 | Ransomed from Futility
There’s a short story by author Amy Hempfel called “A Man in Bogota.” It’s a fictional story of a wealthy man who was kidnapped in South America and held for a million dollars ransom. It took his wife time to get the money – around three months. The kidnapped man wasn’t in the best of health. He had a heart condition, and his kidnappers needed to keep him alive to collect the money. So they wouldn’t let him smoke, and they made him exercise every day. They even changed his diet. After his wife paid the ransom, they let the man go. When his doctor examined him, he said the man was in excellent health, far better health than before he was kidnapped.
The story asks the reader the question, “how do we know that what happens to us isn’t good?” Though this man was held captive by his kidnappers, he also was unknowingly the captive of a lifestyle that was affecting his health.
The idea of “ransom” means that someone is “bought back” from some sort of captor. While a captor can be an actual person, it also can be a negative mindset, an addiction, or a set of bad habits, as we see in the story. Though we may not realize it, we also have been held captive by a negative mindset or way of seeing the world that makes us feel cut off from God:
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. (I Peter 1:18-21, NLT)
In these verses, we see that humanity has been “ransomed” or bought back from “the empty life [we] inherited from our ancestors.” I like to think of this “empty life” as moving through the world without knowing who we really are. We often believe we are all alone in our suffering and struggles. The good news, as these verses tell us, is that Jesus’ sacrifice absorbed the negative mindset and the thoughts of separation from God.
Jesus took our pain down to the grave, and then he was raised in glory. And when he rose, so did we. Even as the man in the story found release from his captors—both the kidnappers and the bad health habits—so we have freedom in Christ!
No longer must we suffer from an empty life where we feel cut off from God and from each other. Jesus created the connection which revealed God’s heart for all humanity.
Today, as you move through your world, remember that you have been redeemed into new life, and you’ve been brought forth into the glorious assurance of God’s loving acceptance and presence.
May you know the fullness of freedom in being in Christ.
I’m Michelle Fleming, Speaking of Life.