"An Inside Perspective"

March 2004


My dear family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ!
In prison, once a week, we have a regular laundry day.On this one particular day, I put my laundry into the mesh-bag and threw it, "by faith," into the abyss with hundreds of other bags. I watched as the bags were collected and rolled off the wing in huge carts to go to the laundry room. I pray, "Lord if you are willing, allow my bag to find its way back to my cell." I am hoping against hope that it does so. All the bags have their own cell numbers on them, yet in my heart, I find no solace in that. From my past experience, in my humble opinion, it is not quite unlike putting a note in a bottle, throwing it in the ocean, and hoping your loved one gets it!

I do not put anything of any value into the mesh-bag because you can see through it. If a laundry worker "sees" something to his likingin my bag, I will never see my bag again or it will just come back empty with a convenient slice in the side. After all, those that do my laundry are the most nefarious rascals in all of NJ, what should I expect, right? Therefore, I usually only put in the basics, socks, drawers, etc.

In prison, there are two ways that I can wash my valuables. One, I can wash them by hand in the shower, as I shower, which I often do. Or, two, I can pay a laundry worker that I know to "protect" my bag. For a couple packs of cigarettes or stamps a month (jail tender) my bag will come back untouched.

On this day, I decide to take a chance, knowing there is no such thing. I send my favorite pants to the laundry with no protection money except for a "Lord bring back my pants please."

Well you guessed it, the laundry comes back and my pants are missing in action! Now mind you, these are my favorite "hacking around" pants and I love them. You know the type, they are broken in, fit perfect and they are very comfortable. After almost thirteen years in prison, you would think I am broken, I am not! I am now, in fact, fit to be tied! I say, "Lord why do these rascals have to steal "my" pants? I can't get no respect, they even have my name in them for goodness sakes!"

By now, I'm stewing in my sin, "Lord... please don't let me see one of these jokers with my pants on! Right about now, I'm feeling like putting some holy knuckles on this pants napper!"

I have forgotten that I have prayed. I am angry in my unbelief and I am focused only on the circumstances. Have I so quickly forgotten? It is written, "every beast of the forest is Mine and the pants on a thousand hills!" (Philip's version)

Shortly thereafter. I am repentant and I confess my sin. I am now resolved, "Lord... I still need lots of work." Then, on my way to bible study I walk by a friend's cell who works in the laundry. He yells over, "Hey Philip, I got your pants. I washed, starched, and pressed them special yor you." I am smitten--- "oh me of little faith, is here a rock I can hide under?"

It is written, "God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose." This was a huge lesson for me. At the time, I was still struggling with what "I saw" as the negative results of my legal appeal. I was stewing in my sin of unbelief because I was focusing on my circumstances. I had forgotten that I had prayed!

In the flesh, I thought that someone had stolen my pants but really, in the Spirit, the Lord had moved on an unbeliever's heart to have them not only washed but starched and pressed too! I am encouraged in the Truth that the Lord is always behind the scenes working in the lives of His people for their highest good, even, when all circumstances declare otherwise.

I think of Joseph in prison on false rape charges, doesn't look good for him in the flesh, right? In the spirit though, God is working behind the scenes getting Joseph's pants washed, starched, and pressed! Yes, God was working His plan to save Israel through whom ultimately he would bring the Messiah for the world!

More so, I ponder the attitude of the disciples. In the flesh, their Lord was crucified in apparent humiliating defeat. All the while though, God was behind the scenes, by the Spirit, getting Jesus's pants washed, starched, and pressed! What they saw as their defeated Lord, was indeed, Satan's vanquishing and our eternal victory over sin and its sordid consequences!

I wonder, are there any stolen pants in your life? Is there a situation that you are reacting to in the flesh? Are you stewing in the sin of unbelief because you are focusing on the circumstances having forgotten that you have prayed? Don't ever forget that God is behind the scenes, by His spirit...

...washed, starched, and pressed your pants, special, just for you (smile).

Joyfully in Jesus,
Love Phillip

"Remember Those In Prison, As if Chained to Them"