"An Inside Perspective"

October 2010


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I was hired for the Greenhouse job about 3 years ago. At that time we had an officer over us who was great to work for. He took a real interest in all things pertaining to the Greenhouse and went out of his way to take care of his workers.

One of the perks of a good prison job is that your officer will “look out” for you. That means that he will take your back when problems arise, and trust me when I tell you, problems arise in here. It also means that he will feed you. In prison there are two mess halls. One is the Inmate’s dining room (I.D.R.) and the other is the Officer’s dining room (O.D.R.). Need I say that the food is completely different in both mess halls? I will leave it to your sanctified imagination to determine which dining room has the best food. (smile) A good officer, from a prisoner’s perspective, is one that will go to the O.D.R. on his break and come back to the job with clam shell trays full of goodies and dispense them among his workers. It is always a treat, no pun intended, to have a “good officer.”

During the course of this particular officer’s tenure as our boss, he was having problems with one of his superiors, a lieutenant. For whatever reason, they would butt heads over almost everything, and a few times, it almost went to blows. I forgot to mention that my “good officer” liked to fight. In the midst of this contention it was observed by the lieutenant that I had found grace in the eyes of my officer and that he was “looking out” for me. The lieutenant quickly saw that if he wanted to get at the officer, all he had to do was pick on me! I became the pawn stuck in the middle of these two egos as they sought to outdo each other in the pride of life.

My officer told me to stay away from this lieutenant because he was out to get me! He didn’t even know me but I realized that it didn’t matter because their beef had nothing to do with me. There was a bigger battle going on of which I did not have full knowledge. I tried to stay out of the lieutenant’s way but that was no small job in these confined quarters, so when I saw him coming I just bowed my head and looked the other way. I noticed that the fear I now had, because of what my officer had told me, played a big part in my daily decision making.

As time went on my officer left the Greenhouse and things seemed to die down, but there was still this unspoken tension between this lieutenant and me. During the course of all of this, as I was trusting the Lord as my keeper, I learned that we had a new supervisor over our work area. You guessed it, it was him! The fear rose up in me again and I said, “What’s going on here, Lord?” A couple mornings later I woke up and prayed, “Lord, this seems impossible to me but I know You can turn this around and give me a relationship with this rascal.”

Later that morning, I was at work by myself. I was sitting on the stoop in the sun outside the Greenhouse enjoying a moment of grace. I looked up and saw the lieutenant walking briskly right toward me and staring dead at me! Immediately, fear rose up in me as I thought, “Surely he is going to make something up and lock me up in the hole!” I hung my head, prayed for grace and hoped he would walk right by me. It was not to be because he walked right over to me, addressed me by name and began to very politely ask me questions about the Greenhouse and the surrounding grounds. We walked around the area together for about twenty minutes, and yes, suddenly we had a new relationship. Wow!

He went on his way and I went back and sat down in the sun and reflected on this new moment of grace. I thought, “Did that really just happen?” I had only just prayed a couple hours ago and my prayer was already answered, and that, with exact specificity. Honestly, I was spiritually stunned. Why am I so slow to believe that the Lord will answer my prayer so quickly and in such a dramatic fashion? I’m telling you, this thing was hanging over me like a dark cloud for a couple of years and the deliverance was of Biblical proportions to me!

Upon reflection, I realized that the answer to my morning prayer had boldly walked right up to me! I noticed that instead of faith and expectation rising in me for an answer to my earlier prayer, I manifested fear and unbelief right up until the last moment! Oh me of little faith! My stars! To my shame, I was shown to be an unbelieving believer! The very answer to my prayer had walked straight up to me and almost clunked me on the head as if to say, “Wake up, oh ye of little faith!” If it had been a dog, it would have bitten me!

It was at once an encouraging faith-building answer to prayer, and a stern rebuke of my unbelief all in one fell swoop! Beloved, let not fear rule your heart. Look with faith and expectation to our faithful God and Savior lest you be found to be of little faith. Pray that, like me, you will not be discovered to be a shameful . . .