I spent this last Saturday in Lake County Jail – Waukegon, IL.
It was a good time of ministry. I didn’t have any ‘numbers’ to report. I didn’t lead anyone to Christ – but I did have a good time of listening and talking with women. I spent a lot of one-on-one time encouraging them in their walk with Christ.
Often times, it seems, the women in jail don’t know how to break out of their learned attitudes and decisions. They don’t know how to think ‘out of the box’. They are unsure how to break the life-cycle they are living in order to find a new life in and through Christ.
It’s not my style to just walk in and spout off a bunch of ‘Christian’ answers. I do a lot of asking ‘thinking’ questions… because answers don’t seem real real unless a person can truly think through and process new information on their own.
I saw a few ‘light bulbs’ go on…. this tells me I’m on the right track and the words coming out of my mouth are not mine, but His… Praise the LORD!
Sometimes God uses circumstances in Prisons and Jails to teach me… to stretch me… to remind me that I’m not there for my glory… but His.
An unusual circumstance happened on Saturday.
I was sitting at a table in a block, talking with an inmate. She pointed to a lock-down cell and said, “I have to stay away from her. She wants to kill me.” She continued on to tell me a story about a lost love, an affair… and a murder.
Bill, my mentor, was talking with the woman in lock-down through the food shoot. I glanced over to see him praying with the curly-headed blond woman… she had tears streaming down her cheeks.
“That girl killed my ex-boyfriend,” the story continued, ” she ran him over twice with her car.” Her accusatory finger was pointed directly at the blond woman.
I don’t encourage inmates to tell me their stories… I’m concerned with their hearts – not what has happened in the past. I was wishing she hadn’t told me anything.
The 5 minute call went out. It was time to pack up and leave. I said my goodbyes, knowing I’d probably never see this woman again this side of heaven.
Bill called me over to meet the girl in lock-down. She had just given her heart to Jesus. I shook her hand and smiled at her. I welcomed her to the family of Christ all the while thinking about the cold-blooded murder she apparently committed. She’s a new creation in Christ. She’s a new creation in Christ. I told myself over and over as I blessed her… the murder was now in the past – forgiven.
It was a difficult moment for me. My flesh was fighting my mind, challenging my beliefs. It was a stretching moment for me.
I’m thankful for this circumstance. It was a reminder of the abounding grace God has for us. It was a reminder that, once upon a time, I was lost. It was a reminder that He finds us. He pursues us. He forgives us.
To God be the glory.