Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where Will You 'See' God? - Part 1

Our days are busy,
and the noise in our ears - louder than ever.
Cell-phones ring, music abounds,
we have road noise while in transit,
unlimited Internet sites to surf,
more than 150 channels to watch,
all while the kids scream, the spouse yells, the boss demands,
and our inner voice...
goes silent.
Where is God in this maelstrom?
He is... where you don’t look,
or rather in the places we overlook.
Please allow me to tell you a story about my first day...
when I first entered Oregon State Penitentiary as an inmate.

Upon entering I could sense the presence of Satan at work. From every horrible crime you can think up, men are here to do multiple years in a maximum facility, some for life terms, and some on death row. I can still recall that first day when my heart sank into my stomach and I nearly wept on the spot. Not from self-pity, or even the stench, but the disease of despair in the place, a sense of futility or defeat. Even on that day I knew I was enveloped by God’s protection. And in a way I still am. You can read more Here.

And when I walked into the cell I expected to inhabit the next four years, I met Tim.
His own prison term was already fourteen years in on a thirty-seven year sentence.
The crime he committed is not important, but here is what is:

God used him.

Tim listened to my story. Asked if I was an alcoholic who needed help, then proceeded to do more.
More than was asked of him. More than was required. And more than I could ever repay.

Within one week I knew where I could safely go, and where to avoid.
There was a place on the weight-yard where I could lift weights in safety.
And Tim introduced me to people as his cell-mate,
as an “OK” guy,
and as something other than a “sex-offender”.
You see, even behind bars, there is ‘politics’,
and Tim just gave others his “approval” of me.
This may not seem like much to most people,
but here is the point...
even on my first day of incarceration
God was there,
Using Tim.

Later, Tim would tell me how to prepare for the long days and nights ahead.
Because he had experience, and I was someone he could teach.

Now, I am ‘outside’, and nearly ‘free’,
while Tim continues to serve out his sentence.
In the letters we now share, he still extends words of hope,
to make the most of the time we have.

You know what I learned?
That God can use anyone,
They don’t have to be popular, or good looking,
rich, famous, or powerful,
but they can still speak God’s truth that we so badly need to hear.

Will you listen?

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