"Okay, tie me up."
The two burly guys grab the chains and start wrapping them around me. I wince when the cold steel touches my bare skin and when the links pinch my arms as they circle my body. Upside down, I feel the blood rushing into my head, a slight thumping sound in my ear reminding me that my heart is beating. They finally finish, put padlocks on the chains, then step back to watch, smiling from ear to ear.
How do I get myself into these things?
Suddenly a trap door opens and water splashes onto my face as a tank rises up and begins to engulf me. Deep breathes, one, two, three, hold! My head penetrates the water and within moments, I'm completely submerged. Opening my eyes, I see a blurry clock counting down from three minutes. It's at one minute, forty seconds. Where did the time go?
I begin shaking, trying to loosen the restraints tied around me, and as I do my body is losing precious oxygen. I close my eyes, wiggle my arms, loosening my left shoulder just enough. Rocking back and forth until I feel my body hit the glass enclosure, once, I gain more momentum, twice, my back hits the other side, and slam! I hit the glass with my left shoulder as hard as I can. A scream almost escapes, but I catch it before I inhale gallons of water.
My shoulder, now dislocated, screams at me for being so cruel. But it works. I feel the slack in the chains and I start to wiggle hard and fast.
From outside, they must think I'm drowning, convulsing as I breath in water.
My lungs are burning and I feel my strength begin to ebb.
Just a little more Lord. You know all glory is Yours.
I look at the clock, forty-five seconds left. I better hurry.
The chains slide down my body, their weight working for me, as I continue to shake and wiggle. Finally, I feel them give and begin to fall. One of the locks hit me on the brow, hard. Dizzy, but I can't stop now. Time is running out.
I try to bend up and realize a part of the chain is still hooked onto my pants, holding me down. Panic! My heart pounds and I know I'm seconds from death. I grab a hold of it with my right hand and jerk, I feel the pain in my left shoulder but I ignore it. I jerk harder and it falls.
I bend up, grab ahold of the lock at my feet, pull the pin in my shoe and begin to work the lock. As I do, I look at the clock, fifteen, fourteen...
The lock jerks free and falls onto the chains below. I pull myself up, slip, pull again. I break the surface of the water to the sound of the cheering crowd! I'm alive. I look at the clock just as it turns zero.
"Thank You Jesus," I pray.
One of the guys comes over and helps me down. "Good job Jacob, another great show."
He gives me a towel and a mic. I walk to center stage and raise my hands. The crowd goes wild! I motion for silence and it takes a few moments for the applause to die down.
"The chains that bound me tonight, are like the chains that tie us to this world and the god of this world would like nothing more than for you to believe that you will never be free. But I'm here to tell you, just like I was freed from these chains, you can be freed too. Jesus said in John 8:36, 'So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.' If you put your trust in Him, and turn away from your sins, you have God's promise, you will be saved!"
Looking at the crowds, I smile. Despite the pain and the fear of death, it's all worth it if just one will come forward.
"Jesus also says in John 7:37, 'Anyone who is thirsty may come to me.' So come!" I watch. No one is coming forward. No one's heeding the call.
The disappointment begins to rise, but then, a single person begins to walk down the isle. Like the angels, I rejoice over just one who comes to the alter to be set free from the ties that keep them from God's grace!
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