I was sitting in the very back of the chapel. The chapel sits in the very back (very, very back!), in the furthermost part (in the very, very, very, veriest waaay back!), part of the prison. (It seems like the walk is 10 miles through a hall of dorms and guard huts to get there.) There was a chapel full (80+ men) of prisoners. They all sat listening.
We were filming one of our Re-Entry Programs. The speaker, a big-time football player... twice himself incarcerated, was giving them hope in sharing his own story... of where all he'd been, and where he miraculously was now. As the speaker was speaking he said, "Everyone has dreams. We all have dreams. Tell me some of yours...."
One guy raised his hand. "My dream is to be a model." I was surprised at his honesty and his boldness to dare say such in the audience in which he was sitting. He was good-looking black guy, though, I could see why he said it. I watched the other guys to see their reaction. The thing that surprised me is that they didn't react to it... they were captivated by their own dreams that hammered loudly inside them.
"I want to be a good role-model for my kids."
"I want to be successful."
"I dream of being released."
"I dream of being free."
"Be a good dad."
One guy, "We," as he pointed to several guys grouped around him, "want to be professional singers one day."
That's when I almost lost it. I fought the rest of the time to hold the tears that pooled to roll down. I did everything I could to regain and keep my composure.
I prayed silently then asking, "Oh God, please let them make it! Please help them. Please one day let their dreams come true. Let them sing to others on the out to encourage and keep others from going in...."
They had just sat down from singing the song, "Amazing grace how sweet the sound... that saved a wretch like me... I once was lost, but now I'm found... was blind but now I see....... My chains are gone... I've been set free... My God, my Savior, rescued me... And like a flood, His mercy rains... Unending love, amazing grace......." Did I already say, it was all I could do to keep from crying?
Oh, how hard I prayed for those guys. They'll never know how hard I prayed for those guys (for everybody in there). They'll never know how much I'll continue to...
I keep thinking of what our God has said, "I know the plans I have for you. Plans not to harm you, but to prosper you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." And too, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He WILL GIVE YOU the desires of your heart."
I saw those guys "delight"ing in their Lord as they had earlier sang of Him! I saw the wonder on their faces. I saw the love for Him in more than their words that were spoken!
He knows the plans HE has for them! Isn't that wild, that God truly has a "plan" for each of us! He's thought it out! He's planned it. He knows what He wants. And it's good! It's more than our eyes have seen, more than our ears have heard, better than our minds can imagine (1 Cor 2:9)!
They have a dream..... And our Savior does too!