God Behind Bars?
I recently had the opportunity to go minister in a prison and lead worship in front of a few hundred prisoners. Before going I was a little skeptical, I mean we are talking about prisoners, the rough-scuff tattooed men, who at some point have broken the law. Thoughts like “is this really going to be beneficial to any of these men” or “I bet they are just going to give us a blank stare the entire time” ran through my mind. Of course everyone has their own perception of what a “standard” prisoner looks and acts like, and my perception was hindering my thoughts of why I was really there. Of course after arriving my same perception of the standard prisoner were the same as they were before I had showed up, but what happened after the service started only an experience could describe.
I began to see and fill God move in the same way that I had seen him move in previous services I had attended. I seen grown men who were there for numerous accounts of charges still lift their hands and praise the same God that I pray to everyday. I heard their prison worship team sing about being free, while being behind 9 feet of fencing all at the same time. You could feel it in the atmosphere that God was indeed there and he was the same God that shows in our everyday lives. In Romans 8:38-39 it says “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You see I have felt called to be a youth pastor and so many times I have questioned the full commitment to bringing Gods word to the next generational age. I have always doubted if I would ever be strong enough, and most importantly what if I were positioned in a church that seemed lifeless and Godless? I’m just glad to know these questions no longer haunt me because the same God who saved me in a room full of God fearing adults will be the same God who is with me to the ends of the earth just like he promised Moses in Exodus. Just remember if you are ever in a time of trouble, the same graceful God who delivered his people from slavery in exodus is the same God on the throne that is over your situation.~Jonathan