Saturday, July 11, 2020 -
This unit seems very different without Will being here today. I nearly stuck my head into his room instinctively on my way upstairs for the email terminals, but suddenly realized he was no longer there. Usually, if Will wasn’t in his cell he’d be down at the other end of the building in “M” and “J’s” cell.
Now, with Will and “M” having been released, “J” is visiting me more often. This morning he told me, “You know, you really shouldn’t be here, but I know you’re here for me, and I am in the Word now and I might not have been otherwise.” I told him that I had thought it was Will and “M” who had steered him toward giving his life to Christ, but he insisted that it was all of us in our unit fellowship or church, and I was a central part and so I praise the Lord for that. Yet he is not the first who has told me that I came to prison just for him. God always tells me this through one of the men just when I seem to need encouragement.
Prison seems to be a place where men either, as the prophet Jeremiah says, “Do not know how to blush” (Jeremiah 6:15, 8:12), or if they have any remorse at all, are very open to the redemption Christ offers. Unfortunately, most are in the first category. “Their ears are closed, and they cannot listen, the Word of the Lord has become a reproach to them” (Jeremiah 6:10). They are “greedy for gain” (Jeremiah 6:13), “oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, shed innocent blood, and walk after other gods” (Jeremiah 7:6). They “steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, and offer sacrifice to Baal” (Jeremiah 7:9), “trusting deceptive words to no avail” (Jeremiah 7:8).
Even some believe they are saved but are deceived, “turned away in continual apostasy” (Jeremiah 8:5). What “J” told me this morning is that what drew him to the Lord was that, unlike others he knew in prison who claimed to be Christians, we were real. We didn’t just talk the talk, but we walked the walk. May this be a lesson for all of us wherever our circumstances find us. May we always walk the walk, not just talk the talk. And may it never be said of us, “They did not know how to blush!”
Please continue to pray for “J” as a brand new believer. Today is an especially difficult day for him, as he’s missing the funeral of his 40-year-old brother who died suddenly from a heart attack. “J’s” really wrestled with the fact that his brother may have passed away without ever giving his life to Jesus. He told me this afternoon, “I can’t wait to get out of prison so that everyone can see I’m not the same man I used to be, the party animal, drug dealer who everyone wanted to be around.” Praise the Lord “J” has blushed before the Lord. He repented and decided to follow Christ.