At the Prison where I serve the administration has us take a 20 minute “facilities” break midway through our meeting time. We turn up the Worship music, playing it through the guitar amp and enjoy fellowship.
This past week it was my Guitar that became the center of three new conversations about Christ. Guys come in from the other classes and ask questions. We’re blessed to visit them, some have found their way into joining us. In this case, the boisterous, pushy inmate who’d come in to visit — turned out to be one of the more feared ‘on the yard.’ I could sense some of my ‘regulars’ drift closer to us. A the time I was unaware of their concern.
I declined to let him play the instrument — there are rules covering that — but because I had recently purchased it from a local Pastor and other certain facts — lead us into conversation about how where we’ve been, how what we’ve done in life has no bearing on Christ’s love for us. The man was convinced he was unrecoverable in his Evil – he tried again and again to say how bad he was and he wasn’t going to change. I insisted God has a plan for each of us and confessed there have been times in my life I had separated myself from Him. As long as we breathe – Jesus calls out to us “Come Home.” I asked him about Fear; if he ever wondered what it would be like to live with no fear. He of course insisted he had no fear of anything, including death because “I know where I’m going.”
I find it astonishing that even the “worst” among us know in their conscience — the nature of their Maker. That good and evil exist. There is a choice.
In the end, the break was over and everyone headed back to class. I never got his name, he wouldn’t say. Asking my brothers in class, they said I didn’t want to know. And I suppose they’re right — I don’t need to know — Jesus does. And now I’m praying that this mans salvation can become a witness for Christ in a powerful way. Jesus needs warriors of his kind — who have the life experience to say in the first person to others — “I was there, and I’m a slave no more.”
There is nothing the Lord can’t use to illuminate his purpose and love for us in life.