I am writing this as Jenna is in surgery. She is getting new ear tubes today. Yesterday we went in for their normal audiology and ENT visit. They complained again that Jenna had too much ear wax to really see what is going on. She did not pass her hearing test again. I was to the point that I wanted to know what was really going on in her ears so we strapped her down in a straightjacket (it was called a papoose jacket), put a microscope up to her ear and scraped away the wax.
We found that her left ear tube had been plugged for a long time; long enough for tissue to be growing through the tube. The doctor could see a lot of fluid on the other side of her ear, unable to escape. As the doctor scrapped the wax out of her right ear, they found the ear tube just sitting in the ear wax. When they finally got all of the wax out of her ear, the doctor could again see all of the fluid built up in that ear too.
Now my dad said that he occasionally has to get his ears cleaned too but he doesn’t get put in a straightjacket. He says that it doesn’t hurt, it might be a bit uncomfortable but not anything to complain about but the reward of having clean ears is so well worth it. It takes away the ringing pain in the ears, the pressure, and in the end he can hear better. He goes willingly because he knows it’s going to be better after the procedure.
Jenna on the other hand screamed at the top of her lungs the whole time. She was in a straightjacket unable to move and unable to understand that what was really going on, that the doctor was actually trying to help with the pressure in her ears. Her freedom of movement was taken away so that she might be able to hear better. Granted it also landed her in surgery today to fix her ear tubes – temporary discomfort to make her life better in the long run.
People who don’t truly understand Christianity might think it is like a straightjacket, like this papoose jacket Jenna was placed it (I wish I had a picture of it). They may think that Christians are either kicking and screaming (a few of our youth group members could probably relate to being forced) or that Christians are all brainwashed and are unable to think for themselves. Keller states this view point as “Christianity is supposedly a limit to personal growth and potential because it constrains our freedom to choose our own beliefs and practices”.
Unlike Jenna who had to be placed in a straightjacket because she couldn’t see the freedom she would gain by fixing her ears, my dad went in willingly with no straightjacket. In the same way someone might submit their life to Jesus’ leadership and lordship because they understand the freedom to be gained in believing in Jesus. When you willingly give your life to Jesus, you have more freedom then you can have on your own. Keller uses the example of a fish. It’s like a fish who was designed to live in the water. Sure that fish could exercise his “freedom” to live on land, but he would die. It is only when he stays in the water that he is really able to thrive. He thrives in the environment that he was designed for. “Freedom, then, is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us” stated Keller.
Keller ends chapter 3 by stating “Once you realize how Jesus changed for you and gave himself for you, you aren’t afraid of giving up your freedom and therefore finding your freedom in him.”