Our monthly trip to the women’s prison went well. There were eight of us so we split into two groups of four. One went to what’s called MSU (minimum security unit) and the other went on the compound (medium security). Tracey and I always go to the compound which is inside the fence and tonight was no different.
After introducing myself and the others Tracey, Carl, and Doug I sat down. Tracey led us in a few songs from the hymnals that are provided. At first it seemed the ladies were all in, but as we finished the last song over half of them had taken their seats. I’m not saying people can’t sing sitting down, but I couldn’t help wonder what the sudden need to sit down might have implied. We never mentioned it rather we just kept on with what we were doing.
I told them about our friend Doug’s moped wreck 14 years ago. When all this happened Doug had to have a tube in his throat which caused damaged to his vocal chords and hinders his ability to speak clearly sometimes. Hence, the reason I spoke on his behalf. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and collided head on into a semi truck. The officers and medics at the scene couldn’t find a pulse and were talking about declaring him dead. Doug was taken to the hospital in Nashville without much hope of recovering. The doctors told his father even if he did survive he would most likely be in a vegetative state and have to be in a nursing home for the rest of his life. This is not very encouraging news to hear about one’s child, but his father cried out for God’s intervention and prayed. Without going into all the details let me just say as I shared how the doctors didn’t think Doug would make it he said, “They were wrong” which received almost a standing ovation from the ladies. Doug is walking, talking proof that God is alive and still performs the miraculous.
After Carl, our other friend that came with us, finished telling the ladies about Christ and encouraging them by saying, “We come here because we love you and to tell you to look to the Lord” It was time for Tracey to speak; so I got up and introduced her. Since she talks with and councils the ladies in our local jail on a weekly basis she talks with the women in prison with ease in an open and honest fashion they all seem to gravitate toward.
Tracey shared with them about our Christmas holiday and how it seemed to be focused on Jesus even more than usual. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the extras of the holiday’s and forget Jesus Christ is the point. She read to them from 2 Corinthians about how we are ambassadors for Christ and we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Our role is to declare to people how God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. On top of that it isn’t just reconciliation to God but also to each other. As believers in Christ we are to be a forgiving people. We are to be an example of Christ to the watching world. While Christ was on the cross he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He said this and it included even the very ones that nailed him to the cross. It takes a supernatural move of the Spirit, but if we are Spirit people we will have the same nature as our father won’t we?
When my time came to talk to the ladies I started by sharing my testimony with them. I told them of my addiction and how Tracey and I divorced. We were divorced for two years but thank God he had something wonderful in mind. You see he was going to bring us back together but this time it would be “In Christ.” He is the God of reconciliation isn’t he? I told them the message of the gospel is only for those desperate enough to receive it. If you still think you are okay then you probably won’t really hear the message.
The message of the Bible isn’t that we try to be a Christian. No, the message is without Christ you can do nothing. The Apostle Paul’s discovery was “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The Christian life isn’t about us and our attempts to be a “Good” Christian rather it’s about Christ, by the Spirit, living the “Christ life” in and through you. He is the only one who ever lived the Christian life, and guess what? He’s the only one that ever will. The good news is now because of the cross and the death, burial, resurrection and ascension we can receive the Holy Spirit and be made whole. All that we were lacking in Adam can only be realized in Christ.
One of my favorite things to share with people is how there is nothing outside of Christ himself that can fulfill you. I repeated three times to them “There is no other human being on the planet that can make you whole.” After the third time several of them clapped their hands because they finally were hearing what I was telling them. My experience has been there are so many men and women, particularly women, looking for some man to complete them. I told them when you get a man and women together looking for the other to bring them fulfillment it’s like two ticks with no dog. You end up sucking the life out of one another but in the end it simply can’t work. Whereas if you have two whole people, two people filled with the Holy Spirit, coming together not expecting to receive more from the other than is possible you find peace. This is God’s design for us. His plan is for two people, that look to him for their life, to come together and live as a demonstration of God’s perfect design for his people.
Of course I can’t write here all of what was said and done, but I hope you get the gist of our time with the women in prison. I ask that you pray for them and their families. For some of them, that have been locked up for a long time, and have a long difficult road ahead of them. The good news is they are learning to look to the only one who can get them through and his name is Jesus Christ.