"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Why God Sent Me To Prison
Over the past several years I have learned many things. I have learned the good, the bad, and frankly, the ugliest of ugly working in the field of criminal justice. While I entered the field of corrections thinking it would be a good and steady career for me and my future family, little did I know that it had way more in store for me. Regardless of how much blood, sweat, and tears the lessons of this field has cost me over the years, I find great value in them. God has orchestrated and designed each and every stage of my life, ministry, and career to this point and will continue to do so. While I could ramble on for days about fighting, insane medical incidents, and the personalities I have met that seem to source from Hell itself, I have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to give you the main reasons why God sent me to prison. Walk the corridors with me as I tell my story of the darkest place on this earth, man’s heart (Jeremiah 17:9).
All Men are Fallen and Capable of Anything
The first and most important lesson in my opinion as to why God sent me to prison was to show me that all men are fallen and capable of anything in the flesh. Wait before you jump to conclusions, I know what you’re thinking! “What did he expect working in a penitentiary with grown men who are murders and killers?” That is easy to assume given what we are fed on television about how inhuman and obviously crazy/evil men like killers appear. The truth is actually much different. Some of the most genuine and gentle people I have ever met were locked up for the most heinous murders you could ever dream in your nightmares. I have also had the most uncomfortable or stressful interactions with individuals incarcerated for simple possession of a drug or driving under the influence. However, it is not uncommon to hear from correctional staff that the most difficult part of their job is not dealing with seasoned criminals or con artists, but the other staff and administration. Leadership is not always earned, sometimes it is gained through association and location, therefore the ills that come with leaders who are gifted in this area takes its toll on the staff members below them. There is also the awkward association of other staff and officers who are themselves not upstanding citizens or deserving of their jobs. These facts are proof that just like the inmates these staff watch over daily, every man is fallen and in need of a savior (Romans 3:23). No person is valued over another just because of his wrongs or mistakes (Genesis 1:27; Deuteronomy 10:17).
Trusting In Man is Hopeless
The second lesson God taught me through the experience of prison is that trust in man is hopeless, but trust in Him who created us is perfect. Man will always fail us. This fact is 100% guaranteed in life if you deal with people and we all deal with people, that they will eventually fail you. However, if you put your hope, trust, and faith in the Lord, He will never fail you (Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 17:7). Besides, there is no one more untrustworthy than yourself. We are often our own worst enemies by doing things like placing doubt in our minds where there should be none, discrediting ourselves, by devaluing ourselves and the works of our hands. We should never forget that if we have found salvation in Christ as our Lord and Savior how much that costs God and the value of that blood which courses over us today. I have been found myself being betrayed by all types of individuals in life from the highest to the lowest. These types of moments are where I learned to lean on the discernment of the Spirit. God will warn us if we listen closely where danger is present. Sometimes He will even alert our Spirit to the spirit possessing another individual, warning us to remain distant from that person as not to be hurt by them. It seems church people can often act in ways that places them among the dirtiest individuals, but this often because the enemy lurks within the seams of these organizations acting out in individuals unknowing the impact of the actions which they carry out. I have been lied to by the most “honest” individuals, let down by the most “dependable”, and forgotten by the most “thoughtful.” Managers have misled me, criminals have guided me to safety, and peaceful groups have exploded in violence. Nothing is as it appears in this world because frankly, THIS WORLD AS WE KNOW IT ISN’T OUR HOME (John 15:19, 18:36)!
Serving God is More Uncomfortable Than Comfortable
The final lesson I would like to bring to you as I was taught by prison is that life dedicated to serving God is often more uncomfortable than comfortable, especially if we plan to answer our calling as God commands. Going into our calling means we have to part with what is familiar, what is known, what is comfortable. Even Christ didn’t come to make us comfortable, as he left the throne of comfort for Earth to save mankind. So, He didn’t come to make us comfortable, but to confront the methods the enemy uses for bondage. When God called me to plant this ministry online, He didn’t call me out of a place of comfort. That didn’t work the first time. Instead, He called me from a hospital bed in pain and agony. He reminded me of how temporal life was and how eternal life in Heaven must be (1 Peter 1:24; John 3:16). He reminded me that I needed to take as many people with me as I could, that I couldn’t leave this place just to have not earned any crowns (John 9:4; Matthew 5:16). Paul and many of the disciples often got thrown into prisons where the environment was surely not comfortable. Notice that Jesus didn’t call the easiest individuals to train or deal with, but He called the most effective in their calling. God will often allow us to go through things that are awfully uncomfortable so that we encounter someone along the way in our calling who has went through or is going through the same thing, we can minister to them properly. So, many times God is not troubling us by making us uncomfortable because He just feels like it, but because He wants to prepare/correct our path if not for our own good then for His glory, or maybe even both (Psalm 9:10; Psalm 31:14; Isaiah 48:9-11)!
Hopefully, you will never have to endure the hardships of prison. As a matter of fact, God has and will be taking you through your own trials and tribulations for your own spiritual development. Thank God the sufferings I go through you don't have to and vice-versa. As the potter molds and shapes us, we should pray that we learn swiftly and thoroughly as not to stretch out the learning and growing process by our own stubbornness. Thank you for joining us here at SCM! May God Bless You and Keep You until next time. Amen!
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Psalm 31:14 (KJV)
14 But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God
Psalm 9:10 (KJV)
10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
John 9:4 (KJV)
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Romans 3:23 (KJV)
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Genesis 1:27 (KJV)
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Deuteronomy 10:17 (KJV)
17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
“5Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
John 15:19 (KJV)
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
John 18:36 (KJV)
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
1 Peter 1:24 (KJV)
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
Isaiah 48:9-11 (KJV)
9 For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.