A bumblebee that tumbles into an open jar will not find its way out on its own, they say. It will try to find freedom through the sides at the bottom of the jar, until it destroys itself; it will never look up to see the easy escape route at the top.
Same with a buzzard finding itself in a small, open-topped pen. It needs to run itself into flight. If it doesn't have enough room to do so, it will remain a prisoner until it dies.
This, at least, is what they say. I can't report from first-hand experience, never having personally captured either bumblebee or buzzard.
But what an apt illustration this is for what it takes some people to find their way to the Lord: We find ourselves in great distress, trapped in intolerable circumstances, and we beat ourselves up in trying to make a horizontal escape where no escape exists. It's only when we look up that we spot the freedom of everlasting life.
This was certainly the case in my life. I was perfectly self-sufficient and contentedly earth-bound until May 31, 2000. That's when I was swallowed up in sorrow over my mother's death. Like the bee and buzzard, I looked around and saw no escape. But then, unlike these critters, I looked up and glimpsed true freedom.
Okay, so the analogy falls apart for me at that point. It took me over a year to sort through the evidence for a god in general, and the God of the Bible in particular. But the point is that I found the freedom I so desperately sought only by looking up.
This is my constant prayer for the lost: Lord, please do whatever it takes to hedge them in as You did me. Help them to see that there's no escape in the world around them, not in money or achievement or even the most all-consuming love. Help them to look up and see You. Help them to trust in You alone so that they will find liberty forevermore.
Do whatever it takes, Lord. Help them to know that, if the Son makes them free, they will be free indeed (John 8:36).