My first neighborhood friend was a robin. From the day we moved into our house a few months ago, this little bird has often sat perched by the kitchen window. We’ve shared coffee time, morning Scripture reading, amateur cooking sessions. It may sound silly, but she has been a peaceful presence in the midst of moving and change. 
The other morning I came downstairs to make coffee and saw two little robin babies at my back door window. They chirped, stared, practically beat on my door trying to get my attention. At first I thought they were just hanging out on our patio doing whatever baby birds do, but then I realized they needed help. They were stuck! Each time they flapped their wings and got some air underneath them, they’d almost make it over and then slide back down the side of the fence.
I watched them helplessly, trying to figure out how to help them without hurting them. Mama Robin even stopped by a few times encouraging them to fly (and probably rolling her eyes telling them she warned them!) Then I realized the solution was simple: open the gate! Yes, if the gate was open, the birds could go freely! 
But you know what really happened? As soon as I opened the gate, both little birds darted to the corner behind a bush. They chirped. They hopped. And they hid. They did not go through the gate even though it was right there waiting for them. Nothing I did helped guide them to freedom. Even if they saw the opening, they were too afraid to go through it. 
Then I realized — we can be those birds too. The gate is open for us! Freedom is ours in Jesus! Yet so often we hide in the corner of our own captivity or try to make our own way out. Just as the birds tried to fly over the fence to freedom, so do we.  We try to make up a solution and set out to do it all on our own — when Jesus gives us another way — His way by the cross. The gates of heaven are open for us because He gave His life for us. Jesus says to enter through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13). Though it might not appear to be the easy route, we can follow in faith because the gate is already open. We don’t need to climb, fly over, or make up our own way. We can follow Jesus because He made a way for us. 
What’s holding you captive today? In the name of Jesus — fling wide the gate and set the captives free. Friend, we are free! So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). May it be so.

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