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Is There Freedom at the Bottom of the Well?

Valerie Ferrara

Boston Trinity Academy entered the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday morning. Lent is a time we purposefully reflect on how we can share in Christ's suffering and identify with His resurrection. It is a time of repentance, as Joel 2:12-13 says:

That is why the Lord says, "Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don't tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead."
Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

Following the observation of the beginning of Lent, Boston Trinity Academy alumna Amanda Perkins ('14) addressed Chapel attendees. During her junior year at BTA, Amanda was instrumental in starting the Micah Conference, an annual gathering aimed at teaching teens how to fight social injustices. She is now in ministry as part of the staff of FOCUS Boston.

Amanda began by asking, "Is there freedom at the bottom of the well?" She reminded her audience of the story of Joseph (Genesis 37), thrown into a dry well by his scheming brothers. "A ridiculous question," Amanda said. "Think of Joseph. Was he free? Joseph was the least free you could possibly imagine. He was in a situation of intense limitation."

Suggesting that we are all "stuck in some kind of well," Amanda said limitations are a part of life. "Is there freedom at the bottom of your well?" she asked. "God likes to give His children gifts, but sometimes those gifts look like limitations."

God created us to be mortal. We have limitations. Unlimited options can paralyze us, she said, but embracing our limits and boundaries can actually set us free to act. We can best function within our limitations, yet we try to stretch past the limits God has set. The result is sin, and the Bible tells us in Romans 6 that sin is slavery, not freedom.

"Is there freedom at the bottom? The obvious answer is 'no'. We are trapped by sin with no way to pull ourselves out, but this is the good news of the Gospel," Amanda explained. "God sent Jesus into the well. As a human being, Jesus was at the bottom of His own well, yet this was the moment He was most victorious."

Amanda concluded by referring 2 Corinthians 4:7-10:

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

"We are treasure in jars of clay. God has given us the gift of Jesus," she said. "We receive that gift at the bottom of the well. Learn how to live in your God-given limits. Throw off evil and walk into limitations for the love of those around you."