“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them…” Hebrews 13:3
When Laurie is released from the women’s prison where she currently resides she plans to mentor and counsel women in similar situations by sharing how God brought her through. With Laurie’s permission I am sharing a portion of a letter she sent during one of our exchanges.
“I had such an experience this morning. I was hooking up the equipment and one of the guest speakers, ‘Travis’, handed me his guitar to plug into the speakers. As I was doing so he said, “I spent so many years trying to get out of prison and this week I couldn’t wait to get back in prison.” I just smiled and laughed.
Then, as I was sticking the cord into his guitar he said, “I killed a man…I was drunk. I hit him while he was walking and I drove away.” My heart dropped. I got sick at my stomach…leaned the guitar up against a chair and walked away. I did notice he kept trying to make eye contact but I wouldn’t allow that to happen.
When the time came for him to start singing and speaking, I didn’t want to hear anything that he had to say or sing about. Then, I sensed a nudge saying, “You owe that man an apology.” I said in my head, “No I don’t, for what? I wasn’t rude to him.” Again, the nudge, “For being judgmental.” I said, “I don’t owe that man an apology.” I kept feeling that nudge…I said, “I’m not going to apologize; besides he’ll think I’m crazy for just apologizing. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Well, I started listening to his songs and his message. After the service I walked up and started unhooking the equipment. I said, “Okay, okay, I’m going.” I went over and picked up his guitar, unhooked it and carried it over to him.
I said, “I owe you an apology.” He looked at me funny and said, “I don’t know for what, you really don’t owe me an apology.” I said, “Yes, I do and God said I did, so please Mister, accept my apology.”
He said, “Do you mind telling me for what?” I said, “Well, it’s kind of personal.” I turned to walk away and as I was turning my mouth just fell open and I said, “My son, Josh, was hit by a drunk driver and they left him also. I was being judgmental and didn’t want to hear anything you had to say. But I listened to you and I see how repentant and sorrowful you are and how God has changed you and is using you and…”
I got choked up because when I looked up at this man he was crying. Tears were streaming down his face. He said, “Ma’am, I am so, so, so very sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say to him. He said, “I’m sorry Ma’am. It has been quite a few years since it happened. This is the first time someone has told me or approached me from the other person’s side. Thank you so much for the healing you’ve given me today Ma’am.” I told him again that I apologize for being judgmental and to please keep me in his prayers. I walked away.
My emotions are in an uproar. One minute I’m okay and the next I want to cry and pray. For some reason I can’t get Joshua or this man off of my mind.
But, I do know that God has a purpose for what happened today.”
It was edifying reading Laurie’s words of humility and obedience as she listened to the nudge of the Holy Spirit and sought out that man. May he remember her mercy and kindness for all of his days and give the Glory to God for her obedience. No one is an island to themselves. We all have pain and have caused pain. Oh, how that ought to bring us to our knees in gratitude towards our Savior who took that pain upon Himself and made us Holy before God for those who believe.
God is not restrained, confined or contained by the physical limitations of prison bars or the walls constructed in our minds and hearts or even by our greatest sins. God is the Master of broken things…it’s where His glory emanates with brilliance. He orchestrates our salvation, rejoices in our restoration, and sustains us as not to perish but to be transformed.
Remember those who are imprisoned whether for their faith or for less noble reasons. Changing a single life can affect untold others. The unexpected blessing is that the most changed life may very well be your own.
“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.” ~ Vance Havner
For further study please consider the following:
Genesis 39 & 40
2 Corinthians 3:17
1 Thessalonians 5:18
1 Peter 5:6 -7