Last week at church, I was inroduced to the concept of serving in Prison Ministries. Oh sure, I’d heard of it before. But last week, I felt God tugging at me, almost like he was sitting next to me…
Nudge nudge. “Psst, hey Crissi”
“Quiet God, I’m listening to Andy speak.”
“You should do this.”
“What? Me Lord? No, I’m a little too innocent to work with hardened criminals.”
“No, seriously. You should do this.”
“Lord, no offense here, can you stop talking? I want to listen to this.”
And I left the conversation and went on with my week.
Last night, there was good old Andy again. And I was all attention. And the Lord knew I would push him away if he sat next to me again. So he sat Kristie next to me instead.
“You should do this.”
“It’s funny, my pull is towards our mission trips to Cambodia. And I don’t feel pulled to do this. But if you want to do this, you totally should.”
“Um, I’ll think about it.”
“Well, pray on it, ok?”
Now, I never mentioned to Kristie that this particular calling was being pressed into my soul. Not once. In fact, I haven’t talked to Kristie for ages. But it’s like she knew. And I never gave her any clue that I was thinking about this.
Later that evening, Lori started talking to me about this, and we both got into a conversation with Andy. And I admitted that I was feeling God telling me to go forward, but I was scared. You see, I’m a pretty trusting person. And I love people. And I see the good in them. But this also leaves me open for being taken advantage of. And I’m afraid that first off, someone I am ministering to will see right through me, will call me on my shit, will tell me I’m full of it. Secondly, I’m afraid that someone will use my sympathy and play on it to take advantage of me. Third, I’m afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone altogether. Fourth, I’m afraid of committing myself to something that may take up more time that I don’t have.
But I also know that I am not living up to my beliefs. My belief is that it is not enough to believe. We must do for others. I still stand by my last post, as controversial as it is. (And I know that there is scripture, Jesus’ own words, that rebukes my statements. I’d rather not struggle) But I also know that I will share my Jesus to the ends of the earth because life with Him is like being in love a million times over, and everyone should get that opportunity. Everyone should get the opportunity to know what it’s like to stand nose to nose with Jesus, singing to him from your soul, and feeling Him intertwined with their whole being. “And it’s just you and me, here now. Only you and me here now.”
In the Buddhist religion, it is their ultimate goal to one day reach that point of enlightenment, to feel God so close that their very souls are entwined with His. And it is their belief that this is a very difficult task, near impossible, and only the most disciplined Buddhist will ever achieve this. But I experience this. As a Christian, we have that privilege of knowing Jesus in such an intimate way that He envelops us. There are times when I am so “enlightened” (if you will), that I am alone in a room full of worshippers, my eyes closed, and Jesus surrounds me to the point of I don’t know where I end and He begins.
Do I dare share this? Do I dare hold the hands of a woman, lost in the world, and tell her the hope and fulfillment and joy and answers she’s been seeking is all there for her in a man named Jesus? Am I strong enough? Yes. The Lord is my sword, my shield, my warm blanket to comfort and soothe. With Him, in Him, of Him, I will fulfill his calling on my life, and in the lives of others.