Monday, June 10, 2019 -
A friend and his wife sent me a letter today, saying they read something I’ve written and loved it. However, having to write everything long-hand and mail it home to be typed up and placed online, and then, not having access later to check what I’ve written, means it is basically forgotten and I had no idea what they were referring to!
I say all that for two reasons. First, I remember very little of what I’ve written in this journal. It’s just a daily reflection of what’s on my heart, sometimes mixed with tidbits of my boring prison life. Second, to apologize if I repeat myself or cover the same material or theme or text more than one time. I’m now reading through the Scriptures a second time, so it is inevitable I may cover the same material twice and repeat something I wrote five or six months ago! Such is probably the case with today’s text.
However, before I get into that, I wanted to mention that I was refused a lower bunk pass today. My cellmate is leaving the unit, and I was hoping to move down. I’m just too healthy, even for a 64 year old man, they told me.
But having a last name that begins with a “Z,” which usually means I’m always last, once in a great while works out as a blessing. Even though my “call out” was at 10am, I didn’t get to see the physician’s assistant until around 11, and by the time I’d gotten to chow, they were already cleaning up from lunch. So I asked the officer if there was any way I could get some food, since I’d just come from medical. He told me to sit down at a certain seat and wait. About five minutes later, he brings me a meal from the officer’s mess hall with the exact type of meal I’ve been longing for – chicken stir fry (with real chicken pieces), fresh chopped cooked veggies not undercooked (including broccoli!!), nice fluffy rice pilaf, and green beans cooked in ham! Not the usual fare we prisoners get! How I thanked and praised God for that meal!
And that leads me to II Corinthians 1, which is a Scripture I’ve come back to numerous times, and I’m sure that I’ve quoted it more than once in these pages. But for me they are powerful. Just as today I was blessed with a special meal nobody else got, I am here to tell you God is “the Father of MERCIES and the God of ALL COMFORT; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (II Corinthians 1:2-5). Paul and his fellow sufferers “patiently endured” (v. 6), for they set their hope in God, who raises the dead, believing He will yet deliver” (vs. 9-10)! They knew never to give up! God is ALWAYS faithful – “You also joining in helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed upon us through the prayers of many” (II Corinthians 1:11).
As I told Kathie last night, I can feel your prayers. They sustain both me and Kathie, and our children. Your prayers keep us filled with hope. I pray these words I write may sometimes also comfort you in your afflictions and difficulties and help to instill hope in you – for He is the Father of mercies and comfort!