We had a great night last night. It was our first Wednesday night service in Tutwiler's (women's) prison. Woe, at the blessing! With hopefully many more greater blessings to follow! What a hard place to live in. Prison of any sort is never fun. We've all been there in some form or some sort or another. I suppose it's not supposed to be a pleasant place. For if it were, none of us would ever fight to get out of it and live a life in Christ victorious.
One girl came to me crying and asking for prayers and saying, "I have no hope."
But actually, she DOES have HOPE! If only to KNOW the HOPE that she has! Our Savior is striving to show her!
Another was crying so hard that it took her saying it several times before I could understand what she said, "I don't want to be in here." Bless her heart! I know she doesn't. I wouldn't either.
I asked her how long she'd been there? "Five and a half weeks," was her answer.
I asked her how long her sentence was? "Seventeen and a half more months to go."
Wow! I know she doesn't think so..... and honestly, I can't imagine..... but 17 1/2 months is doable. Some of my girls have been there over 20 years. Some have life and won't ever leave. Still. I'm sure 17 1/2 months in that place surely seems like a lifetime. I'll be praying for her... and hope next time to see her again. Meanwhile, I'm praying that she'll feel God's care and His comfort. I pray that she'll lean on Him the entire time of her staying. And that she'll be so "stuck" to Him when she leaves, that she dare not ever stray away from His side again, but rather stays covered beneath His wings and in the midst of His safety. And, as she walks out from those bars for the last time, may she have an incredible testimony to tell! May she take her new found "hope" to another.
We had 44 girls respond after the service. God's Presence was felt and was evident! Dr. Lancaster held the girls captivated with his message. Hanging onto every word. Then, his voice mixed with his wife's in song soon had their tears streaming. The song choices they sang were perfect. And though they listened to hear God's word, I know that they were also listening to see if what we were offering them was genuine. Going in to take God's message is one thing, but the trying will also come and give proof of our sincerity if we (God's family, His servants, His army of people) will actually be there to help them after they get out. They're anxious to see us put our walk where our talk is. They want to see Him (through us) in action!
Last night we brought HOPE to a hope-less place. We took HOPE to the pit of the prisons. No doubt God didn't only show Himself there, but it was God Himself that sent us! To show them HOPE! To show them our Savior! To share with them what we have! To show them in us what He's done! To give them HOPE for what He has yet to do in them!
May each and every girl there miraculously find the salvation that our Savior offers! And though it may "seem" impossible.... is anything really at all ever too hard or impossible for our LORD? He's into working the impossible... and I am praying for that very thing for the "least of these" in a very unlikely place! Isn't that how our God works? For after all, He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. May He raise up an army from those that right now are held captive. May He captivate their attention and rock their worlds with His wonder and then one day use them for His Glory as a Display of His Splendor!
They wait in hope for His salvation, for His rescue, for His deliverance.... may they see His heart and His work through not only our voices, but through the work and labor of our own hands.
Gen 49:18, ""I wait in hope for Your salvation, God.""
Another translation, ""I trust in You for salvation, O LORD!""
Another, ""I wait with hope for you to rescue me, O LORD.""
Another, ""I will look for Your deliverance, O LORD.""
He KNOWS the plans He has for them! Plans that are good and not plans of disaster! Plans to give them a HOPE and to give them a future (Jer 29:11). May we remember and help to remind them of that.
Psalm 146:5;147:11 says,
"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is in the LORD his God...
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear Him,
in those that hope
in His mercy."
I'll close with one of my all time favorite psalms! One that over and over again has renewed my "hope."
"Out of the depths I cry to You,
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If You, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with You there is forgiveness;
therefore You are feared.
I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits,
and in His word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel [O prisoners!], put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with Him is full redemption.
He Himself will redeem Israel
from all their sin."
No! It's not that we have "no hope"....
But we've got to: KNOW HOPE!
KNOW your HOPE! For that's why our God sent His Son! To forgive and redeem ALL of the sins that we've done. Our yesterday's girl might not know it yet, but indeed, she does have HOPE! Oh Lord, help her to see and to HOLD ON to the HOPE that we have in You!
"So trust in the Lord
(commit yourself to Him,
lean on Him,
hope confidently in Him)
No hope? Oh, know! We've got Hope! Not "no hope"... but KNOW HOPE!... cause that Hope is really real and is actively pursuing you... hoping that you'll have hope in Him!
"Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in [HOPE in! have confidence in; feel safe in; feel secure in]
the name of the LORD
and rely on his God."
You know... God sent Ananias to Saul (Acts 9:11). His reason? Because (as God said), "GO! For behold, he prayeth!" Whose hope rests on your going and doing? WHO is praying for you that God is telling you to "Go!" to?