“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Heb. 13:3
What if that verse said, “Prisoners, remember those on the outside as if you were with them. Remember them as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” If it said that I know two men who have fulfilled its calling.
Several years ago our church started holding services in a local prison. That ministry led to one of the brothers from our church giving up his secular work to go full-time into prison ministry. That work led to souls be saved and lives being transformed. Some of those transformed lives have taken the seed of the gospel into the mission field, as they serve God while incarcerated.
Last night I received this message from an incarcerated brother,
“He wanted to say that he hopes it is appropriate but he wants you to know he and (another brother) are hurting as if they were with you and they love you.”
As I read those words the power of God overwhelmed me. My brothers behind bars are carrying my burden, as if they were with me. They love me. They are fighting for me. They are ministering to me.
When I got to worship with them inside the prison walls I went to minister to them. I went just let them know that they were thought of and remembered by someone. What I didn’t know was that God was weaving my spiritual safety net and these, my brothers, would be part of the thread. They would be part of the net that would hold me up when I lost my son.
Every day my load gets a little lighter. I believe with all my heart that it is because the redeemed of earth have responded to my suffering. Each soul that has wept for me, offered a prayer for me, or served my family as done their part to pick up the piece of my burden that they were called to carry.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6:2
Because they have fulfilled the law of Christ, God has washed me with his life-giving Spirit. Thank you God for the saints of earth, whether they are in my home, in my church or in prison. Thank you. Thank you for the saints who have carried my burden. Thank you for preparing them for me. Thank you, O Lord Most High.