Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Divine Appointment

Last Friday, I was planning on visiting a member of the church I pastor. I hadn't visited with him in a couple of weeks and was anxious to see how he was. When I got to his area in the "Mainframe," I was told by the deputy that no visits would be allowed. It was disappointing, but I sensed that God had someone else for me to talk to that day in another part of the jail.

I decided to go to a jail pod in the "Tower" that I hadn't visited in a while. Peering through the window in the door, I noticed that the deputy on duty was one that I knew to be Christian. He buzzed me in and we greeted each other. Soon after I walked in, an inmate asked if he could talk to me.

"I had been a youth pastor in this city for a number of years, " 'Neal' told me. "I was doing OK, until my marriage fell apart. After that, I quickly got back into doing drugs. I went from one bad relationship and marriage to another...and another. The woman I was most recently with had been the mistress of an important man in town. She cheated on me with still another man. That man is right here in the same jail pod as me!"

It took Neal a while to unfold his story for me. He was born in and grew up in another country. Having been raped at age four, his soul was radically scarred. The only relationships he knew with women were marked by emotional and physical abuse. (He showed me the permanent damage to a part of his body that came as a result of a lover's rage.)

"I'm glad you came," Neal continued. "Just before you got here, I was talking to the deputy about some of my problems. When you walked into the jail pod, he told me to go talk to you."

"Neal, I wasn't planning on coming here today. I was supposed to visit another man, but was not allowed in his area. I knew that God had someone else for me to talk to. That was you!

"Where was God in all of my trials? Why did He leave me?" he asked.

"God, can restore you, Neal. That restoration process comes about through repentance, forgiveness, and acceptance of His healing power in your life."

Even though Neal was a Christian, all the women he had been with were unbelievers. "I thought I could lead them to God. I thought I could help them. But I see now that I was unequally yoked."

We prayed together briefly before it was time for lock-in, when the inmates must return to their individual cells. Pray that Neal would be fully restored in his relationship with the Lord, and that God would one day again use him to minister to others.


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