"An Inside Perspective"

November 2012


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Greenhouse and the surrounding grounds, as most of you know, are my earthly joy when it comes to work. I am ever amazed that I can have such an awesome job while in prison! The Lord is indeed so very, very good to me! It is written, “...if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10b) I therefore aim to be obedient by working like a mule, and then enjoying a good meal with a pure heart!

In the spring of 2008, someone in another part of the prison had an old truck tire that they had made into a planter. They were going to throw it out so they asked me if I wanted it for the Greenhouse. Naturally my prison-born McQuiverish pack-rat mentality took over and I said yes. To my surprise, there were four small Black-eyed Susans planted in the tire.

I nurtured them back to health and planted them in a small section of the grounds. That was about five years ago. Last week I took a walk around the grounds and I counted 454 fully matured Black-eyed Susans! Truth be told, I barely have room for any more, but they just keep multiplying! The overabundance causes me to constantly branch out to other areas. Also, the fullness of their bloom was so magnificent this summer that they were noticed and enjoyed by all.

Trust me, they did not get that way on their own! There was a faithful laborer behind the scenes who shed great drops of sweat, namely me. I had to labor hard, day in and day out, with a purposeful focus. I needed an eye of faith toward the finished product. I had to see by faith that those four little plants could fill all the grounds. I had to look past any temporary circumstances that appeared to hinder my progress. Therefore, I weeded, pruned, and fed the Susans tirelessly. Whatever it took, in season and out, I did it joyfully, without murmuring, unto the glory of God.

Each fall I would survey the grounds, purposefully planning my spring layout. I had learned that after just a single season, a healthy Black-eyed Susan can be split easily into eight or more plants. So I split them, leaving “the mother” where it was and moving the other seven splits around as it seemed good to me.

I am reminded of Joseph’s story and all that he went through in his service to the Lord. His faith did not waver during his trials as he trusted the Lord’s sovereignty and provision. God was glorified in Joseph.

It is written, “The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.” (Gen. 39:23)

After his faithfulness in prison, God then raised up Joseph and exalted him over all the land of Egypt where he was given a wife and two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. His second son was named Ephraim because it literally means fruitfulness. Thus it is written, “For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Gen. 41:52)

God had caused Joseph to be fruitful in the land of his affliction. He was sold into slavery by his family and put in prison on false rape charges. He could have murmured, but he was faithful. It is written, “The Lord was with him.” (Gen. 39:23)

Beloved, be reminded, the Lord is with you also. We all have our own little prisons in which we are required to be faithful. In fact all believers, albeit free in spirit, are yet imprisoned in the flesh. We all await by faith our final catching away. You are not worse off than Joseph was, are you?

Consider the Susans of Rahway. They neither labor nor toil, yet they are abundantly fruitful. Precious one, are you not much more valuable than they? Like them, you too are called to be fruitful. In fact, if you look by faith, you might be surprised by what’s in your own tire. Consider the people in your life that the world wants to throw away. Can you nurture them back to health? Of course you can. They won’t get that way on their own, you know. There must be a faithful laborer behind the scenes, namely you, who, in season and out, is willing to weed, prune and feed “the least of these.” Be reminded, the Lord is with you also. Indeed, there is a Heavenly Laborer undergirding and empowering all your work Who has Himself shed great drops of blood in His own prayer closet on behalf of that fruit!

Be encouraged, because you too, like Israel and Joseph, can multiply in the land of your affliction. (Ex. 1:12) Like my Susans, multiplying grace may cause you to branch out into other areas. Be reminded, the Lord is with you also, causing the fullness of your bloom to be so magnificent that others notice and enjoy “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)

You must look away from your daily circumstances and unto the Lord by faith. It’s the Lord alone who splits a healthy believer into eight new believers over and over again! You’re “the mother,” believer; let our Heavenly Gardener work His multiplying grace through you. Beloved, be reminded...