Friday, April 18, 2008

The Lost Sheep

Time for another prison story.

I don't know how to start this, and I keep writing and then deleting paragraphs because they don't communicate what I want to say.

I love these women. I love going to jail to see them. This is why I am here on Earth. Apparently, I belong in jail. :-)

Bringing desperate, unhappy, at rock-bottom people the Good News is a joyful pursuit. How many times have you been rebuffed when you attempt to share God's Word with your neighbors, or people in line at the store, or your own family members? Many times, these individuals are content with their lives.
Or at least can pretend to be.

Not so in jail. Broken lives and hearts and families, searching for some answer, any measure of peace.

I look in their eyes. Sometimes I see hostility, but mostly I see heart-ache and desperation.

I love them. And I have answers for them with me. I open up the Word.

"Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me." Psalm 50:15

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." Romans 6:22

That is exciting news! I can't help but be enthusiastic about it. I pray I don't scare anyone with my over-the-top exuberance.

Simple verses. Verses we know by heart, many of us. But an actual life-line to someone who needs rescuing.
We spend time unwrapping exactly what each of these verses mean. Then we hold hands and pray together.

This week one young girl with wild eyes and hair to match made a statement.

"I don't think I can be a Christian . The bar is set too high. I would fail. Church is not for people like me."

I could only smile at her. I understood where she was coming from. I came from there.

So I told the group my own story. The worst sinner I know. A murderer, liar, hypocrite and more. Deserving of hell. How I was rescued, by God, and by "Jesus with skin on." How he loved me, (even me!) enough to die a horrible death so I can spend eternity in Heaven, a place I can only imagine.

They were all in tears by the time I finished, but I saw hope in their faces. People will always try to argue with scripture and theology, but hardly ever do when you tell them what God has done for you.

These women are all in the process of deciding who to follow, themselves or the Lord. Please pray for them this week.

My fingers are hovering over the keyboard again, wanting to share with you the anguish of the prisoner who is 5 1/2 months pregnant, worried for her child. About the woman who's mom is dying of cancer while her daughter is in jail. About the woman is looking seriously at spending the rest of her life behind bars.

I don't know how God will answer each of their prayers. But I know that He says "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." and "Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you, and you will honor me."

I also know that each of these women will someday have their own story about how God rescued them (even them!) and will tell it gratefully and with tears in their eyes.
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