Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Today marks exactly two months in prison for me. Yet God today has overwhelmed me with a feeling of being blessed by Him. I can’t explain it, other than the fact that I am blessed. I am blessed to be in the unit I’m in, the cell that I am in, to have the loving, faithful wife that I have, who yet in spite of so much suffering, is enduring to the end. I praise God for all of my loving and supportive family, and the many hundreds of people I know who are praying, many of whom have written me and sent me books, notes, and other encouragements.
Indeed, your support and encouragement are overwhelming to me! Oftentimes I receive notes and letters from people I do not know, and it just overwhelms me with the realization that I am so truly blessed. Such was the one I received today, “Greetings of love in Jesus from the snowy plains of Iowa. We heard of your story through friends, and wanted to send you some cheery mail…May you know that you do not face this difficult season in your life alone. And may the God of all comfort be your continual companion! That you will look back in years to come at this period of time, as a situation that God redeemed for glory! We pray for your family and loved ones as well, that God will cover them, protect them, and comfort them.”
These prayers from those I know and those I don’t know are what sustain me. And I thank and praise God for each one of you, and pray for His blessings to be heaped upon you – “for I was in prison, and you came to me” (Matt. 25:36,40).
Your prayers and encouragement of me and my family help me encourage others here incarcerated with me – some of whom are very broken and alone, who God has enabled me to come alongside. Even my wife Kathie has begun to reach out to a sibling of one of these men to encourage her to give her life to Christ.
I realized today, reading through the book of Revelation, and getting to the last few chapters, that this brief period of a mere three years of my life, will be just like a flash, compared to eternity. It is not much to endure compared with the joy to come – an eternity in the presence of our Lord and Savior, the Lamb who has taken our sin, who sits on the throne forever and ever! He shall wipe away every tear, and there will no longer be any death, nor mourning, nor crying, or pain – and He will make all things new. Indeed, He promises, “He who overcomes shall inherit these things” (Revelation 21:7). The next verse, however, groups the cowardly and unbelieving in with the murderers and drug addicts and immoral people, “their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Cowardliness has been a temptation for me through this whole ordeal, but I am grateful that God has given me strength, and through your prayers, I am enduring. These tests and trials are a reason for rejoicing and produces endurance, and that produces completion (James 1:3-4). Thank you for helping to sustain me and my family through your faithful prayers. I am truly blessed of the Lord!
When I called home this evening, as I can only do once a day for ten minutes, I reminded Kathie it was exactly two months ago they left me at the front door of the prison. She said, “It’s odd that you called now, I, just the moment before you called, put the last of your clean clothes away I washed just prior to your going to prison.”
You see, she expected me to be back home long before now, as did I, and I could have put them away myself! We continue to pray for a miracle, as we know I am innocent of committing any crime. I remind her, and she concurs, it’ll happen when we least expect it, and in a way where God will indeed get the glory. Him and Him alone! Humanly thinking, I sometimes think it may be through a presidential pardon or clemency, but Kathie has to remind me that it may be even more miraculous than that! I realized that when I was discussing with her and William during their Sunday visits about Corrie ten Boom, who was miraculously released from Ravensbruck, due to a clerical error, just one week before the remainder of the prisoners being exterminated so she would live to tell the story and encourage people like me.
And I remember my friend, Scott B, who while serving a life sentence in Oregon came to know Christ from a woman in Virginia writing him about the Lord. After his conversion, God miraculously released him in a manner no authorities seemed to be able to explain. He knew he was wanted in five other states, but each state, when he tried to turn himself in, could not find any paperwork for him. He met the woman who’d been writing him, they married, and he was a prayer partner with me for several years prior to him moving away. Scott had been a high priest in the Satanic church and responsible for some egregious things, but God redeemed him of all that and set him free! But in the meanwhile, I know I am truly blessed!