Monday, March 26, 2012

6-weeks in prison and there was Jesus!

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:18

We often have categories for the places we expect to find Jesus and the places we just know he would not be found! Most certainly in a church and definitely not in places where the ratio of blatant sinners is high; sorry strip clubs, jails and bars. I mean He is all knowing, all powerful, perfect in every way; in fact He is God and this perfect God clearly only fraternizes with those that are perfect and have it all together, right??? Wrong!! We have bought into a big fat lie. In fact the bible tells us: The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. If that is the case look around in our society, identify the groups that are broken hearted and crushed in spirit, is Jesus with those people? I’ll let you answer that!

For 6 weeks I embarked on a journey at the Dallas county jail asking that very question, is Jesus, God, Jehovah with the women in this prison??
I walked into the experience, like most people in our society, not expecting much. After all these are criminals who have cheated, stolen from innocent people, abused drugs and prostituted their bodies countless times; not only do they deserve to be punished but God’s presence should not be with them; they do not know God and God wants nothing with them.

Boy was I surprised! At the first mention of Jesus's unconditional love these women were in tears, confessing how bad of a mess they've made of their lives. I guess like the rest of society these women expected Jesus to be nowhere near and wanted nothing to do with them.

After the first week, I realized that my mission was to help these women see evidence of the nearness of Jesus in their lives! So I put down my plans of "wowing" them with fancy biblical lessons to persuade them to repent from their sins and I started listening to the Holy Spirit instructing me to tell these women that He was madly in love with them. I started helping them see the grandmother that took them out of a sexually abusive home was God. The teacher that paid special attention to them was God. The aunt that loved them like her own was God. One woman admitted the night on the street when her "client" slit her throat only to wake up at the home of a stranger who took care of her wounds and to this day does not know her name was in fact the hands of God! Another confessed that ending up in jail was purposed by God. Even when we have made a mess of our lives God continues to woo us, longing for a relationship with us. That kind of love compels God to go into the prisons, the strip clubs, the bars and places that would make us cringe just to find us.

Yes Jesus is with the broken hearted and those that are crushed in spirit wherever they may be.

I pray daily that these women will remember that Jesus is near and He wants them to fall into His arms.

Father let us go wherever you call, let us be bold and go to places outside of our comfort zone to help those that are broken hearted and crushed in spirit to simply see and experience your nearness.