Years ago, a woman I barely knew was sent to prison and asked for me to come visit her. It totally took me by surprise. What was this lady thinking? I remember asking, “Why me, Lord? Why me? Please don’t rock my world like this!”
I had no idea the journey I was fixing to begin. You see, I’d never been to a prison and I didn’t want to go now! In my prayer and quiet time I felt God continually nudging me to go. I kicked and screamed, but finally submitted.
As the day came I was in a panic. What was I suppose to say to this lady? What would the prison be like? All I could envision was the slamming of the prison doors behind me as I walked in. And to be honest – this freaked me out!
I began begging God to let me out of this assignment, but He didn’t relent. He confirmed every step of the way that He was going with me, but that didn’t make this journey any easier. Arriving at the prison a guard confronted me. I had arrived at the wrong time. I had entered the wrong way. He was a gruff man and scared me to death. He finally said, “Lady, you need to come back in a few hours.”
As I headed back to my car (actually, I was stomping like a two-year old) I was thinking, “God, this is crazy! I am not coming back here.” And once again He snatched my heart and said, “Yes you are, child!” Being the sweet argumentative one that I am, I told God he had a few hours to prove to me that I should go as I headed to a fast-food restaurant to get a drink and read my Bible.
As I’m flipping through scripture I came across Matthew 25:37-40 NIV:
“Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
As I read that you would think that this would have convinced me, but, I once again begin to argue with God. “OK Lord, you say the things we DO are as if we are doing them for You. But if I just don’t do it, if I don’t go to the prison then what does it hurt. I just haven’t done anything for anybody. Right?” Like God was going to confirm that nonsense. Instead He said, “Child, keep reading.”
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'” (Matt. 25:44-45 NIV)
You can imagine how my heart quickened and my spirit wept when I read the words, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” I begged the Lord for forgiveness as I made my way back to the prison that day.
This was definitely a jail house rock experience for me. God came through in unexpected ways and rocked my way of thinking. I learned that using your gifts, talents, finances, and time for Christ and His cause to reach others will come in ways you least expect it.
My job is to keep my eyes open to how I can unselfishly become the hands and feet of Christ and serve the least of these – the broken, hurting, imprisoned, hungry, grieving, impoverished, abused, addicted, lonely . . .
A journey with that focus will definitely rock your world!
Alene Snodgrass lives in Corpus Christi, Texas with her husband of 27 years and their three children. She attends Bay Area Fellowship where she is the See Jane Grow (women’s Bible study) coordinator.
Alene is a speaker, author, and teach with a passion for connecting with women and motivating them to step out and be what God has called them to be with their unique purpose and passion. Alene can be found at her blog, Ordinary is Amazing, and on Facebook and Twitter.
She is part of the Living the Life team and writes columns for the WHOA magazine, as well as “Wings, Worries, and Worms” for empty nesters at Exemplify Online Magazine. You can learn more about Alene at www.alenesnodgrass.com.