"An Inside Perspective"

October 2008

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I have a friend named Davey. The Lord brought him into my life in the spring of this year. He was hired to work in the greenhouse with me, and the two of us ended up doing most of the outside chores together. It was a blessing to have someone around my own age to chat with everyday while we worked. Davey is 49 years old and he has been in prison for 28 years. He has a sentence of "25 years-to-life," which means he has to serve a minimum of 25 years before he even becomes eligible for parole. That doesn't mean he will get paroled, it only means that "The Board" will look at his case and consider him. They take many factors into account, including your prison record and what type(s) of self-help programs you may have taken and/or completed during your period of incarceration.

During the course of our time working together, we shared many things about our differing faiths, our families, our hopes, our dreams, etc. I learned that Davey had been denied parole in the past for no apparent good reason. He had a very good prison record and had completed many of the programs offered. One day he came to work with an extra bounce in his step. When I asked him what was up, he said that he had challenged the parole board's denial by appealing their decision in Superior Court and that he had won the case. Davey, after a long and difficult 28 years was finally going home. He spoke movingly of how his mother was beside herself with tears of joy. She has stood beside him and visited him for all those years. I was tearfully reminded of those who have been so faithful to me in my own life.

Davey, to his credit, always had a very good attitude and work ethic even before he received the good news. It was nice to watch the realization of the truth of his release slowly settle and take root in his heart. Finally, a few weeks later, they notified him of the exact date that he'd be going home. When this type of news hits the prison grapevine, the vine wraps around the whole jail in just a few hours; "Hey, did you hear? Davey got a date! He's going home on the 10th!" That's when the count-down begins. Here in prison we have our own list of metaphors that describe a man getting ready to go home. For instance, if someone has a date to be released, we call that being "short," meaning that your time is almost over. There are also some humorous sayings such as, "Davey is so short that you can't even finish a conversation with him!" It's all in fun.

Davey had been unwittingly short and didn't know it. He found out when he called his Mom. We also have another saying that's unique to the prison system. Let's say Davey was going home in 10 more days. As you pass by him in the yard you ask, "Hey Davey, what's up?" And this is the normal response; "9 and a wake-up, that's what's up!" You can probably figure out what he means; nine more full days and when he "wakes up" on the tenth day, he's out of here! Cool, right? That remains at dream status for me. (keep praying, smile)

Anyway, Davey and I have been jokingly counting down the days every morning when I see him at work. Today, I came to work and asked, as usual, "What's up Davey?" To which he said, "Two days and a wake-up!" Later, while I was in the mess-hall line, I overheard him saying the same thing to someone else and I suddenly had a spiritual epiphany. I realized that each and every one of us has an exact date when we will go Home. It is written, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment." Yes, you have a God determined amount of time left on this earth to serve the Lord. Peter said, when referring to the Day for the Lord, which will be a joyous home-going for some, "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?"

Unlike Davey, we are not sentenced to life; instead, we have wonderfully received the gift of Eternal Life. God knows the exact date you are going Home. For those who are younger, it may yet be, "54 years, 9 days and a wake-up." For those seasoned, older saints it may be, "2 years, 17 days and a wake-up." It's called a wake-up because those who die in Christ have really just "fallen asleep" and will one day make parole and "wake-up" in Gloryland! Cool, right? Does it seem like a dream to you? It sometimes does to me, too. But truthfully, there is nothing more sure in the life of God's people than the fact that they will one day wake-up at Home in the Presence of the King! Only then will we truly understand the well-worn phrase, "Home Sweet Home!"

It is written, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness." Let us take earnest heed to this truth! Let us run this race for the glory of God! Fix your heart on the Lord! Beloved are you unwittingly short? Perhaps it is for you today, even as it is with Davey . . .

"One-day and a wake-up"

Joyfully in Jesus