Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back in February I received a call from a young guy who had recently started attending our church. He was only 24, but had a long life filled with pain and addiction. He had called me up wanting some counseling, and we set a date. He called me a few days later, needing to cancel because something came up. The next time I heard from him was late last month, this time via a long letter stamped 'Wisconsin Prison System'

He explained that about a week after our cancelled meeting he was arrested for cocaine and violating a restraining order. He is now facing another year behind bars.

I went down to visit this individual last Thursday, and was allowed a telephone visit, with closed circuit television. We had never met before, and he started yelling at me. He thought I was his attorney! I slunched down in the chair so he could see me through the camera, and I asked if we could pray. His reaction really made an impact on me. He starting sobbing and almost fell forward out of his chair. He was starved for someone to invite God's presence into his life, to show that they cared for his soul. Like David's cry in Psalm 142:4, he believed that nobody saw any redemptive value in him. I prayed that he would open his heart to Christ's love, and that he would be able to learn the lessons that God is trying to teach him right now.

As I left the prison, I was struck by how we place ourselves behind bars. When we live life our way, apart from God, when we think we are most free, we are actually the most in bondage. As part of our current series, let's commit ourselves to totally submit to Christ in all that we do. Because there's no good reason for a Christian to ever put themselves in a prison of their own making.

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