I was not a model student. I didn’t make the honour roll, I made the “horror roll.” In fifth grade I would watch the clock, thinking, “When are they gonna let us outa here?” The windows were prison bars. Miss Weismuller paced back and forth wielding her yard stick like a billy club. I dreamed of escape, of daring plans. Perfectly timed diversions. And presto! No more math class. Maybe that’s why I love a good escape story to this day.
Most of the prisoners who attempt escape get caught. If you ever want to get out of prison, here are a few things you should not do:
1) Don’t break out one day before your sentence is up. That’s what Andrew Wilson did in Kentucky. He was caught and he got to start all over.
2) Don’t post your whereabouts on Facebook. Chris Crego fled from the law. His only blunder? He mentioned exactly where he was on social media. U.S. Marshals captured him, confiscated his phone and his freedom.
3) Don’t get stuck. A Brazilian inmate tried to squeeze his way through a hole he had dug in a prison wall. Guards stumbled upon him; well, half of him. His legs were dangling on the inside of the wall. The top half of his body was outside the prison. The guards posed for a few selfies, then threw him back into jail.
4) Don’t visit a prison guard at his house. After James Russell escaped from the Olympic Corrections Centre in Washington, he knocked on a door to ask if he could borrow a phone. Unfortunately, the man who answered knew him. He was a prison guard.
One of my favorite movies is “The Great Escape.” It’s the story of a mass breakout of 76 prisoners from a German POW camp during World War II. Most of the prisoners are caught, and it doesn’t end well for them. Still I’m fascinated by their resolve. You have to admire the elaborate lengths people will go to gain their freedom.
Each Easter we celebrate a far greater escape. The Son of God lay in a borrowed tomb. The hope of the world was dead. Death was final. Everyone knew that. And then the unthinkable happened. The stone was rolled away. Jesus walked out of the tomb, alive. Hundreds of eye witnesses said so. Death was defeated once and for all. Because Jesus is alive, the prison doors are wide open and the guards are nowhere to be found.
If you’re facing fear, God offers his love. If you’re feeling trapped, God offers you freedom. Freedom from guilt, from sin, from despair, freedom ultimately from the grave. In John 11, Jesus tells us, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” How can I hear that without smiling? It’s the greatest news of all.
Happy Easter, my friend.