But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Cor. 4:7-10
What would we do without the "hope" that is within us? If I didn't know that the Lord sends me to do His work, I could be crushed and despairing! BUT GOD!
Last week was VERY difficult in prison. It was the "dinner roll" verses GOD! It was mass chaos in SHU. (Secured Housing Unit) Let me explain.
I was about 10 minutes into teaching, which means I had just completed the review of all we have studied and things seemed to be going well. The dinners had just finished being served. I was about the start the part of the lesson about..."So what happens when we have partial obedience?" And then it started...the argument between two inmates on the second tier directly in front of me, with a female officer (CO) I hadn't seen before.
"Hey, I didn't get my dinner roll, called out one inmate, to which the other joined in, "Me, either!"
"They're all gone, replied the CO curtly.
"Call up the kitchen and have them send 'em over," they screamed!
"I told you, they are all gone," yelled the CO, "what do you want me to do, pull them out of my blankety blankety?"
"No, we expect you to call the kitchen and give us our state issued food," shouted the one, and the other inmate said, "We're hungry, and we want everything we are issued!"
I thought to myself, oh boy, here we go! "Help Lord"
There was more yelling of the same thing, only a little fouler than before and in the middle of it all, the two inmates realize I was hearing this and they said to me, "We're sorry, Church Lady, we really are, but we are hungry and we want our dinner rolls!"
At this point their behavior was so bad, I would have been surprised if they ever received their dinner rolls! However, I replied to these two and said, "I serve a mighty God who loves you. He is concerned about those dinner rolls for you. Let's ask Him to get them for you." The room went silent! We prayed and asked the God who made water come from a rock in the desert for the thirsty unfaithful Israelites which showed His faithfulness, even though we are not, to send those dinner rolls!"
I taught for a few more minutes and the female CO came back into the room empty handed and two inmates started in again! This time the other 56 inmates were shouting for everyone to please shut up so we can continue studying which caused even more problems...everybody was yelling! Inmates were crying and shouting apologies to me! More noise! So I shut off the mike and started going door to door and praying with those who wanted to pray.
By this time it was just too late to continue teaching, so I went to put my things away and guess what came in.....not two dinner rolls, but a bag of 100 dinner rolls! I chucked as I watched the problem CO struggle to carry the bag in, go up the stairs, and deliver the dinner rolls to the inmates!
After they had as many as they wanted, I turned on the mike and asked, "Where did those dinner rolls come from?"
"The kitchen," they shouted.
"No! Why would the kitchen send over 100 dinner rolls when you only needed two? The God who loves you, my God supplied those dinner rolls to show you He cares about you, He hears our prayers and He answers. He has a plan for you and wants you to experience life abundantly! Let's pray now and thank Him for revealing Himself to us all." LESSON OVER!
As I left many of the women called out to me, "Please forgive us, please don't let this keep you from coming back! We really want to hear more about God!
To which I turned and shouted back, "See you next Thursday!"
The night class went well, but a lot of students couldn't come because of lock downs!
After class, one inmate decided to chew me out, for about 10 minutes, for frowning at her in class and shaking my head "no" at her for putting her arm around her girlfriend and rubbing her back! She has been a long time student of mine and knows it's not ok to do that. She called me judgemental and said she was only comforting the crying friend. She said she was really mad at me. I told her I could tell because her voice was shaking and her fists were clenched. I was careful with my word to not aggravate the situation, but stood firm on the rule of my class. After she was finished and I felt we weren't getting anywhere, I asked her, "Just what is it you want me to say? What exactly is the problem?"
"I just needed to get it off my chest," and she stormed off with her girlfriend who was waiting at the door!
I sat there feeling like I had just been run over by a mac truck! The verbal attack and oppression was heavy! I sat there and prayed, as I had been praying during the entire confrontation, "Lord, what is going on? Help me."
As I drove home, I prayed yet I still felt a heaviness and sadness on me. In fact, it plagued me until Friday night. I was weepy, and sad, and no motivated to do anything. Finally, when Jeff got home from work, I cried and sobbed and said, "Honey,please pray for me....and it left."
Please remember me today, I will head out at 11am and I get home at 10pm. It's an hour and 10 min each way. It's going to be 103 degrees today! UGH!
And I will remember....
Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Neh. 8:10b
:Your sister in Christ,
A bondservant of Jesus Christ
Set apart for the gospel of God (if it kills me!) ;-)
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