I’ve got the routine down. But this morning I’m only going through the motions.
Check my spiritual pulse. It’s as though I’m flat line_____.
No inspiration. No spark.
Need the Holy Spirit to jump start my heart.
Driving to jail for Bible study, I pray, “Lord, restore to me the joy of Thy salvation.” How do I show others Your power when I feel the lack?
Can’t trust my feelings. Hold onto the facts.
Twenty women dressed in red, with faces hard as the concrete walls. Television blares. Inmates engrossed in board games ignore me. Loathe who I am.
I wait until one adventurous soul brings her Bible and joins me at the table. And then another. We are three women gathered in His name. Take turns reading Scripture aloud because God’s word “will not return to Him empty, Without accomplishing what He desires…” (Isaiah 55:11).
One time a paralyzed man came to Jesus for healing, but first Jesus forgave the man’s sins. “Which is easier,” Jesus said, “to say to the paralytic ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘arise and take up your pallet and walk?’ But in order that you may know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins –He said to the paralytic-– ‘I say to you rise, take up your pallet, and go home’ ” (Mark 2:9-11).
And he did. More important, his sins were forgiven. Just like myself and two inmates.
His Spirit lives within us. But the goal is to let His Spirit reign.
We read, discuss, and pray. Three lit candles shining in the dark. Not knowing someone watches and waits to come to the table, drawn by the light.
“Will you pray for me?” the woman asks when the other two have left.
Like the paralytic, she wants the tangible rather than eternal. Prefers a prayer request instead of a personal relationship. Still I pray, hoping she’ll seek Jesus who rescues sinners and then answers prayers.
I leave the room. Hurry down a long hallway, listening to my heels click on the cement floor. Watch the video cameras watching me.
Metal doors snap unlock so I can open and close. One door after another until at last I’m on the outside. I soak up the sun’s warmth as a fresh breeze brushes my face.
I feel His pleasure, the joy of His salvation.
Because Jesus is the Living God. Still healing. Still forgiving.
Telling me, “Arise.”