“KNOCK AND THE DOOR WILL BE OPEN UNTO YOU;SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND.”
I am, as many of you may know, a former/retired chaplain at a prison here in Texas. Although I am no longer working there full time, I am still on retainer and do volunteer work there.
I think of the prisoners and their walk in life often. It amazes me how the emotions of the prisoners are basically positive. Oh, there are a few who are down-trodden, anxiously awaiting a miracle parole to be released into the havoc that got them there in the first place, probably. But I want to take a moment to focus on the majority who told and still tell me, “Coming to prison was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Now, what is that all about? How can coming to prison be the best thing that ever happened to them. Let me tell you.
Most tell me that before they came to prison they were uncontrollable, drinkers, druggers, gang members, violent, disrespectful of everyone, caring about no one but themselves. They came from broken families with unbelievable histories. Even though their grandparents or even mothers may have had a faith, a religion, they had no belief in anything but themselves and the power they believed they possessed. They believed themselves to be immortal, and they were totally victims of fate if any negativity happened along – like getting arrested or shot or stabbed. Even though many of them witnessed violent deaths often, they still never associated it with them being the victim of a death. Of course they didn’t – they were immortal.
Now, once in prison they became enclosed in a small cell where all they had to look at physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually was themselves. “What’s was wrong with this picture?” “Why me?”
Slowly with the help of volunteers, chaplains, and teachers, they came to learn one important truth. And that truth is that there is a power in control that is higher than themselves, that they do not have the ability to control anything. They came to realize that they were broken spiritually and, therefore, they were broken everywhere. And then they learned that they could be put back together again –unlike humpty dumpty.
First, they had to put together their spirituality and the rest would fall into place. Why spirituality first? Because only through a deep belief can one obtain hope and only through hope can one put together the rest of his/her life. And that is exactly what most of them are doing – putting themselves back together, knowing that they have the love and support of God to guide them.
It doesn’t take concrete and steel to be in that lost and hopeless prison. Many out here are in their own private prison. Last week we talked about Mel and how he got out of his “prison.” He didn’t let anything or anyone keep him from his dream. How can you or someone you care about obtain that spirituality – that knowing and believing and trusting in the Lord. How can you break out of that prison of hopelessness?
First, and pay attention here, First, STOP right now and look at the wall in front of you. Regardless of the decorative items on that wall, what do you see…. what do you see behind the pictures and wallpaper? You see the concrete, the wooden support beams, the dry wall. In other words, you see the foundation of the house, that which holds the building together and upright.
As we shared last week: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43: 18-19
God is our foundation. And He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the support beams; he sent Him to invite us to join Him on a fantastic journey that lasts forever and forever. He invited us to know Him and to believe Him, For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16. He invited us to live within those amazing walls where we are always safe because God is the foundation and Jesus Christ is our support beam. What an invitation! Your RSVP is this: I accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I will die to myself and live for Him always.
That is all you have to do. It cost you nothing, not even a stamp. You can research and find that historically Jesus is the Truth; you can investigate the miracle claims and discover that they are the truth. Jesus is waiting to come into the hearst of every person. He just needs to be invited.
Once invited, once that decision is made, the spirituality, the hope is received also. And life begins in the positive. Every step taken is a step closer to the LIGHT. And this light never goes out.
If you or someone you know is in that place/that concrete and steel prison, know that you can get out. All you have to do is reach out and find that spirituality that creates hope, which is the foundation and the support beam. And even though it won’t be easy, the rest will come. Reach out to a friend, a church. Reach out and allow yourself to believe. Allow the hope to come back in your life.
There are lists of churches and centers right in your community that offer the basic spiritual needs to get one started on the right path, that path to hope. We have a spiritual chat room where you can find support, love, serenity, peace. ( http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com )
Pick up the phone, walk on over to the building, stop and talk. Seek; knock.