FATHER'S PERSISTENT LOVE MINISTRIES, INC.
My Dear Family in Christ,
Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! It was ten o’clock at night, and I’d had a full day finishing the April newsletter for the ministry. They had just turned off the lights, and I was about to go to sleep. Suddenly, the officer burst into my trailer and said, “Reardon, pack it up, you are being shipped in the morning at 4 a.m.” My heart leapt and sank all at the same time. It leapt in hope of returning to Rahway, yet it also sank because I knew they had been shipping many men to the prison down south. I said to the officer, “Where am I going?” He just casually quipped, “I don’t know – just get packed and be ready at 4 a.m.” So, pack up I did, and that with such anticipation coupled with some ungodly anxiety. As I have been learning, walking (being transferred) by faith is much easier said than done!
As always, I did my best to walk by faith. I then said my good-byes and gave away everything that I could not bring with me. Next, I tried to get some rest. Yea right – not happening! I just laid there for five hours mulling over every possible scenario in my mind. I prayed as best I could, preparing myself for what the Lord had planned for me. No need to pray about where I was going – that was settled; the Lord knew – I did not!
I reflected, “I have tried every means possible to get back to Rahway, but every door was closed in my face. This very day I had written the April Inside Perspective, and in it I had finally surrendered completely, deep in my heart, to the Lord’s will for me concerning my present circumstances at Northern State. I had submitted to be fully about my Father’s business wherever He had planted me until I went home.” Yet, I reasoned, “Lord, I have just finally gotten somewhat used to this nut house and have come to know the men here and their needs. I have begun to invest fully in this ministry and the Body here. What are you doing Lord?” My head bowed, I voiced, “Thy will be done.”
It seems to me now, with 20/20 hindsight, that on the very same day that I had totally surrendered – yes the very same day – the Lord was moving me; though as of yet, I just did not know to where He was moving me! That, beloved, is where the rubber of our faith (trust) meets the proverbial road we walk. Sure enough, at 4 a.m. the officer appeared saying, “Let’s go Reardon!” I walked out by myself through the prison yard. It was dark and empty with not a soul in sight. I made my way to the dreaded “bull pen” where they hold you until you are put in the “dog pen” for shipping.
The bull pen began filling with men going to other prisons. I asked each one where they were going, and they all said, “South Woods State Prison.” My heart sank low even as my anxiety rose higher. I murmured a prayer, if indeed murmuring can be called a prayer, “Lord, what are You doing? Am I not broken enough? Twenty-six years – I can’t take much more.” Instantly, I realized it was the very same prayer I had murmured when I left Rahway just 100 days earlier! Miserable solder; where was my faith?
The officer came by and I asked him again, “Where am I going?” By this time it was 8 a.m. and he said, “I will check.” He came back and asked me, “You came from Rahway?” I said, “Yes sir.” He then said, very casually, “Well, you’re going back there now!”
Upon my leaving Rahway, I had understood the crucifixion in a new light, the separation of Father and Son. So also now returning to Rahway, instantly my heart leapt for joy as I caught a glimpse of the resurrection, the Father and Son reunited after a brutal trial! Lord, Thou hast heard the cry of Thy servant! I shall see my son and all the brothers too! I was overwhelmed with gratitude as tears streamed down my face. They are streaming again now, even as I write this. In the twinkling of an eye I had lost all; albeit, in a second twinkling, all was now restored!
In Rahway, they already knew by the movement sheet that Philip was coming back. My wing officer of eleven years, Miss Rodriguez (herself an angel of the Lord), was at Carlos’ door first thing sharing the news with him! He couldn’t believe it as she told him with joy, “Carlitos, your father is coming back today!”
It is written, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8-9)
I am back in the cell again with my beloved son, Carlos. Make no mistake, though, Carlos and I have learned many hard lessons through all this. The Lord challenged us both, searching us and revealing areas where we can both improve our walk with Him. The crux of His teaching to me was the radical difference between religion masquerading as relationship, our effort to please God, and true relationship, which is us resting in Him. Sweet relationships are the Lord’s true desire and His joy!
Thank you for your prayers – He has answered them! Beloved, do you really, fully grasp that the Lord Himself delights in fellowshipping with. . .
JOYFULLY IN JESUS,
“REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON AS IF CHAINED TO THEM”