Steve's reflections on life

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Houdini's Jailbreak
100 years ago Harry Houdini boasted to the American Press that nothing could keep him captive against his well. The challenge went something like this. Houdini was secured in every available restraint and then bundled into a prison cell and the door locked behind him. Within a short time he had got free from several sets of handcuffs, leg irons and chains and was on the move towards the final obstacle to his freedom, the lock on the cell door itself.

Houdini was the expert on locks but this one was proving to be a problem. With his international reputation on the line he built up quite a head of steam trying to open this high security, but perfectly standard, five mortise lever deadlock. After some considerable time had elapsed, the great man was on the brink of becoming the laughing stock of the prison. Utterly frustrated, he lashed out at the door and to his horror, it swung open and he was met by the mocking jeers of the crowd outside. Harry Houdini, the master escape artist, had been fooled by what was a pretty childish prank. He had spent the whole time trying to pick a lock that had been left in the open position.

Many people feel that an impersonal God sits on the outside of their prison of heartbreak and disappointment. After all how can a God of love allow people to suffer? What does he know about what we go through? Well he does know and what’s more he has identified with our suffering and pain in the most powerful way imaginable. Jesus came to live as a man. He felt what we feel and he faced what we face. Jesus never came to explain away suffering, he came to fill it with his presence.

It’s not some patronising explanation for why people suffer, but rather about a Father who will never let us go, whatever life throws at us. When Jesus Christ died on the cross he settled a debt that was owed over your life and mine. The Gospel of Jesus is an invitation to come into relationship with the Father. He holds the keys to life and death and with those keys he has unlocked the prison door that holds us away from God. Our choice is whether to push it open or remain inside.

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