“Be reminded, God is pursuing you with a love that conquers all chaos, formlessness and meaninglessness. His pursuit is not dependent on what you do or fail to do. His pursuit is based in unfettered love. Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection tell us that God’s love for us is real and that He has done all the work. He is faithful to us even when our lives seem to say otherwise.”
—K. Marc Choi, The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day) (Kindle Locations 530-533). Mockingbird Ministries. Kindle Edition.
Back in 2004 I felt prompted to write to a man in prison. He was 57 years old and had just received a 35-year sentence; realistically, he was looking at spending the rest of his life in prison. Ponder that – it’s difficult to imagine how I would cope, faced with the reality of my freedom in this life being gone forever. Initially, the man was skeptical of my motives but we struck up a friendship. After several months of exchanging letters, he asked if I would visit him. I agreed to do so. In the early days of his prison sentence his wife and a friend also visited him, but over time, their visits became less frequent and eventually ceased altogether. I continue to write and when I get back to the USA I visit him.
In the 12 years he has been in prison, in addition to the mental anguish he has faced from friends and family abandoning him, he has also had to endure all that comes with the prison environment, including several “beat-downs.” Through it all the one thing that has kept him going, kept his hope alive, was the chance that he might gain his freedom through the legal appeal process.
I recently received a letter from him in which he described his “worst birthday present ever.” He said:
“The only mail I got that day came from the Arizona Supreme Court. It was a one-page letter saying my Petition for Review was “Denied.” That was it! Review denied. No explanation, no discussion of my argument, just “Denied.”
I was crushed!! …Golly, I was just crushed. I swear I was so down that I would have walked into an electric fence if I could have found one! Fleeting thoughts of opening veins or hanging flashed thru my conscience… I can’t give up!!
I ask that you pray for my friend, pray that he will find the one source of eternal hope and comfort, which is the God-man Jesus Christ. Thanks.
“remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
(Ephesians 2:12 ESV)