I decided yesterday that we don't need to know everything. Sometimes "not knowing" is a good thing.
Shall I tell you how (or why) I derived at that conclusion?
Not that we necessarily need to be "dumb"... but sometimes being naive takes the scare out of things. Yesterday I got nosy. And what I found out has changed my bravery to a not so very brave. And that, dear friend, is a kind way of putting it. Might I say: fear? Perhaps SCARED colors my exact feeling more appropriately.
Okay... so here's what I did.
Tomorrow starts a journey of visiting "all" the prisons in Alabama (as Dr. L put it). Thus far, there are 21 on the schedule with an "etc" on the end, leaving it open-ended. At this particular moment I haven't the slightest idea of how many prisons there are in Alabama. Perhaps I should have looked that up? Instead, I looked our tomorrow's visit up... and it's their reputation that stuck a fright inside me. Here's what I found:
This prison "is a maximum security facility with a population of more than 1,700 inmates, nearly double its design capacity. Many of Alabama's most violent criminals are incarcerated there,".... thus it is rightly expected that "the level of violence there is greater than other facilities around the state," It "houses more than 525 death row and life without parole inmates - about 31 percent of its population. On average, less than 5 percent of all inmates are sentenced to (life without parole)."
Meaning... that no wonder that there is a "greater violence" there than in other prison in our state, because more than 31 percent of them are on death row or are sentenced to life without parole giving them no incentive for good behavior.
Not only that, I discovered that the prison had been renamed from the name it was originally given. Since its opening in 1982 it has been renamed after a correctional officer that was murdered by an inmate there. One warden is quoted as saying, "This is where they send prisoners who are management problems, behavior problems, people who can't function at lower levels. All the problems are sent here."
I'm just saying.........................................
I'm just saying........................................................
This is where I'll be visiting tomorrow. I now feel like I know a little too much. Like I said earlier, we don't always need to know everything! Sometimes not knowing is a good thing!
Tuesday has its own day of visits scheduled. Trust me on this, I am not even going to bother to look it up! Honestly, I don't want to know!
This I do know though: Christ died to set the captives free! He died for me. And He died for those in physical prisons. Tonight, I first wanted to beg prayers for myself. But now, after finishing this, the prayers I mostly beg for are for them!
Oh Lord, You know them! You see them! You love them! You want them free no matter the place that they live in. No matter what they've done. No matter their sin, their violence, their offence, their rebellion, their mad, their mean. You know why they did what they did. You know why they do what they do. You know their need. You see them not only when they're mad... but You know why they're mad, and You see them in the silence of the night when they cry. You know their fear. You know where they've come from. You know their background. You know the pit that they got themself into that they haven't a clue how to get out of. You know their hopelessness in knowing they will never get out. You know the salvation they need... that won't just help them themselves, but that will influence and help someone else. Help me to see them, Lord, like You do! Not with fear, but with love! Not with hate, or disgust, or repulsion. Lord, give me eyes like Yours. And most of all, give me a heart that loves like Yours does! Father, forgive me for seeing them the way man describes them, for this is not what You see. It's who You died and resurrected again to save!
Awww... "Love casts out fear," right?!!! Thank You, Father, for reminding me to love them! That's why You came! And for tomorrow, that's why You sent me! Not to fear, but to love! Thank You again for reminding me to!!!! Tonight my prayers won't be about me, for tonight my prayers will be about them!