One of the most notorious prison escapes in American history has been popularized by both a book and movie baring the name, “Escape from Alcatraz”. The popular story chronicles the escape of 3 men from Alcatraz island off of the California coast in 1962. The escape, which took a whole year to plan, is fascinating and involved paper-Mache heads, soap, rubber raincoats and spoons. The escape plot began, allegedly, by the men using spoons to dig away at the concrete air vents in their cells. As each hole grew, the inmates used cardboard to cover the holes and used soap to disguise the removed rivets. They then placed paper-Mache figures with real hair collected from the prison barbers so that the guards would believe the men were in their beds sleeping. In reality though, the 3 men had squeezed through the vents and made their way to the prison roof where they continued over the high barbed-wire fences and onto a blind spot on the watchtower where it is believed they improvised bellows to inflate a raft fashioned from rubber raincoats. The men were never found nor is anyone sure they were able to make it over to the mainland.
This idea of escaping is something we come across in our reading today. 1 Cor. 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” This familiar verse offers us a promise: we will not find ourselves in a tempting situation in which we can not find a way to escape that temptation. Maybe that escape is just to keep our mouth shut. Maybe the escape is to think of a Bible verse and redirect our thinking process. Or maybe, like one of my favorite Bible characters, the escape is to run.
I’m sure most readers will remember the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Potiphar’s wife had cast longing eyes at Joseph who was faithful to resist her advances. Finally the day came when she physically caught hold of Joseph’s coat with an invitation to commit adultery. What was Joseph’s escape to this temptation? He ran! There was his escape, and he took it. May we remember this promise the next time we are tempted to sin and instead look for that way to escape. The escape route is there if we’ll take it!