The Escape Artist

This isn’t a story about Ehrich Weiss (1874-1926) (better known professionally as Harry Houdini), the world famous performer of feats of magic and thriller escapes who attributed all his feats of magic to natural, physical effects and explained how many of his tricks were performed (supposedly by often producing “spiritualistic” phenomena himself that he explained in non-mystical, physical terms).

No, this is a story about a boy, who perhaps in his own ranks, has been even more renowned than Houdini for his mastery of the ‘great escape’.  Take a moment to read about the tricks of his deceptions, the times both himself and his problems seemed to vanish into thin air.

Once there was a boy, who learned how to run when he was very little. Sometimes his running only took him as far as the front door, especially the day when he packed his things and told his mother he was running away.  She quietly helped him bundle his things, then told him to; “be careful… stay in touch, and remember… you are making the choice to run, I don’t want you to go, but you are free to choose”.  He didn’t get very far that day, his tears and fears held him at bay, but only for a while, there would be other times to escape, but for now, he had other places closer by to escape to, for he was only six years old you see.

As the little boy grew older, he found that he could escape into his mind whenever he wanted, he learned that he could be anybody he wanted to be in 'there', he could even live in a family where his mother wasn’t crying and his father wasn’t hurting her. In that place his little sister never cried when mommy was upset and daddy was drunk and leaving again… this place was so far way, so deep, deep, deep in his mind, that he ran away there very often, for ‘there’ is where he had learned to escape to be in ‘a better place’.

The boy kept growing and as it turns out, he loved to learn. It went along well with his ‘other life’, that life of silence where he lived mostly in what he envisioned and felt; that life he found difficult to share with others and to express to anyone because it was a land of make believe, a land he was the prince over, that place where he escaped to, that place that he ‘controlled’. Nobody could hurt him there you see, because he made all the rules and built strong walls around him to keep out all those who might hurt him -  for ‘there’ he was secure. So the boy went after every learning endeavor like it was his last, for it involved his mind and ‘there’ he could be alone with his new thoughts, challenges, dreams, and the new feelings that he brought there to intermingle with the ‘other things’ that he hid there: those old and un-dealt with conflicts, fears, tears, and pains that he carried there so very often. Our boy was learning to become a master escape artist, as the story goes, you see.

As the years went by and the troubles grew, the boy learned how to play out the actions in his mind, instead of just pretending to run away he would finally do it this time, he would run… run… and run, until he had escaped the horrors of a beaten mother, a drunken father, a crying sister, and the sting of another beating. Our boy escaped many times, and would be known to escape throughout his teenage and young adult years.  The boy learned how to avoid major conflicts, those true moments that would cause him to feel insecure - that would cause him to run. But when they came, he would escape into the delusion, the numbness, the deception and trickery that he was safe and in control, but the truth was… he wasn't.

Actually, he was in danger of forming a terrible habit that would affect him when he got older, one that if left untreated could cost him the joys of a true relationship with anyone as he got older. Perhaps even one day this would cost him his own wife and children? Only time would tell if he’d ever let somebody truly close to his heart.

So as the story goes, the young boy ran one time all the way across the country where by now, his heart had grown calloused and frightfully cynical. His heart had become so hardened over the years that he wasn’t just running to his make believe world anymore, but into the darkness of drugs, alcohol, reckless behavior, violence, cruelty, immorality, vindictiveness, rage, hatred, power-mongering, greed, self-centeredness, pride, and un-forgiveness to escape it all! The little boy was numb and couldn’t feel anymore, he was beyond anyone reaching him now, so he kept on running.

One day conflict arose, so he ran all the way back across the country, this lasted but for a while because, again, he was confronted by more conflict; so in a slight of the hand, he escaped all the way back across the country again! A true vanishing act of both the conflict and the boy until one day his life would change forever when the possibilities of losing it stared him straight in the face!

The little boy had run out of places to hide you see, he had run out of places to stores things in his make believe world, there were no more compartments to put people and troubles into, for the troubles in his life were larger than he could handle now, they were real - life threatening, dangerous, and some even dealt with eternity. He was faced with a moment of truth, a time where he would have to deal with the realities that he couldn't escape from this time. The little boy looked back at the littered road of his life and all he saw ‘there’ were the broken relationships, friendships, hearts, promises, dreams, and times that he ran from all those years. He remembered all the friends and family he chose to escape from when conflict would arise if not physically but mentally and emotionally by not dealing with the issues but letting them linger until a comatose fear, resentment, pride, callousness, lethargy, un-forgiveness, even hatred had set on his heart towards all those that he had hidden somewhere in the clutter of his make believe home, in his fortress, in the ‘attic of un-forgiveness’, that ‘long hallway of self-righteousness’, in the ‘closet of fear’, on the ‘coffee table of things-to-get-to-one-day’ and on that ‘porch of pride’. Suddenly he realized these people were real, they had feelings, and One of them even wanted to just love him… to just love him so badly that He died for him... He wanted to let him know (yet again) that he was safe, so He told the little boy through His Word: "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28 

I hear the little boy is a man now, (truth be told, I hear he’s trying) and I also hear that he’s running again, but this time into the loving arms of his Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, who loves you just as much as He loves our little escape artist.  I hear he’s not avoiding the conflicts anymore, especially those that would challenge him to grow and to mature, from those times that would cause him to change his ways, especially when they are wrong, disobedient, or selfish.  I hear he is learning to stand by faith in the One who loves him who promises him and all those that believe in Him, that theycan do all things, through Christ Jesus who strengthens’ them (Philippians 4:13). I hear he’s learning to take responsibility for his actions these days and to stand by faith with love towards those that do him wrong.  I hear that he is learning to trust Jesus and to be secure in knowing that He was and will always remain with him now and forever as He will for you, if today, you find yourself in the midst of escaping.

Are you on the run like our little boy was, Friend?

Beloved, stop running… stop and see the wide open arms of Jesus.

Fall into the arms of The Heavenly Father that died for you, because He desires to know and heal you in this same intimate way.

Run into His healing arms, the place where He takes broken hearts and mends them, the One that takes those with pains and fears in secret places and comforts them.

Run to The Conqueror who tears downs the walls of those places that imprison you, should you choose to let Him. Let Him set you free Beloved - free to run to Him, over and over again… “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:36

Do you know Jesus in this way? Or, has it been a while since you let Him have access into your heart so that He can comfort and heal you? Have you been running, escaping to your secret place, your fortress? He invites you to come, but like the little boy’s mother told him to teach him a lesson; “you are free to choose”… Will you let Him set you free today Beloved?

If you choose to be free, repeat this prayer sincerely in your heart, and may you always find yourself humbly yielded and running into the arms of your Loving Savior…

“Dear Jesus,

I hear You calling me and I come by faith to You. Please forgive me for my sins, I have sinned and rebelled against You, please wash me and clean me by Your Blood.  Please come into my life and be my Savior, Thank You for dying for my sins. I choose to run to You now and to follow You all the days of my life, I love You and accept You as my Savior & Lord… In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.”

“For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” –Romans 10:13-14

 "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." -Isaiah 12: 2

“One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek:  That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.”– Psalm 27: 4-6

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