The last few times I’ve been to the jail they were on lockdown. Lockdown means no visits, no programming.
Fortunately, I was able to get in tonight. I guess I am one of the few, rare people who is happy about getting into jail.
I met with “F” again tonight. I mentioned him in Priors. He is counting the days (16) until he is released. We discussed his re-entry plan – where will he go when he first gets out, who will pick him up, where will he stay until he finds more permanent housing, etc.
He knows that he wants to avoid returning to his old neighborhood and friends. He has already seen that that has turned out from the last few times he was released. He says it is time for him to grow up and start acting like an adult instead of an adolescent always looking for a good time. He wants to find a legal way to support himself and his family.
He would like to connect with his son again, but he recognizes that he has burned a lot of bridges with the boy’s mother. It may take time and a demonstration of responsibility for that relationship to get healed.
For the study “F” and I read the parable of the lost sheep. I’ve written about that study before in What Will You Leave Behind? After we went through the study I asked “F” if he had ever heard the story before.
He had not.
For those like me who were raised in the church and heard the story since childhood, there is something powerful and refreshing to watch and listen to an adult who is reading and hearing this story for the first time. What “F” saw was something both startling and familiar.
The startling thing is God seeking out, not the one who has it all together and looks good, but rather God seeks the one who has wandered away, who is in danger, the one whose life is in disarray.
The familiar thing is how God, like a mother, if she had lost her child at the mall, would look relentlessly until her child was found. Nothing less than finding her child would bring consolation.
The imagery of the Shepherd carrying the lamb back was comforting to “F”. It meant we were not abandoned to our own devices to try and find our way back. The Shepherd would carry us and care for us.
Stay close to the Shepherd, and let Him at times carry us.
Will we fight the Shepherd, or find rest on the shoulders of the Shepherd?