Monday, February 09, 2009
Jesus Died For THIS!
I wanted to hold that little bent hand as I fell asleep Friday night. When I closed my eyes, I saw his picture. I had looked at it all day long. Lying there in the dark, I could still see his despondent eyes. I wanted to comfort him and hold his hand in mine. I reached down and held Jett’s little hand because he was the one laying beside me. I could not comfort the other little boy because he is not real. Praise God! That other little boy is being remade in the likeness of Christ.
Earlier that day I had received a large envelope in the mail. I had been anxiously checking the mail every day this week anticipating its arrival. You see, David had called me the day after I visited him in Reidsville State Prison. I was a little bit haunted by our conversation and the unfinished disclosure. I asked David if I could have the original artwork for his tattoo. He consented to mail it to me the next day if I would promise to take good care of it. He had said, “This is the most meaningful tattoo I have. You will notice the old mannequin is slumped over, but he’s not down. He’s beat up but he’s not broken.”
I was dressed to walk out the door with the kids when the mail truck pulled up with the much anticipated envelope. I opened it immediately upon entering the front door. There were several things enclosed. My fingers nervously rifled through the pages. It was the drawing I wanted to see first. I felt a pit in my stomach as I studied the details of a rather frightening piece of art. The torn and tattered appearance, the band-aid over the mouth, the hollow eyes were all taking my breath.
My hands were shaking as I began to read David’s letter. I sank to the floor as I read what I had suspected but hoped would not be true. I stopped at one word and yelled and cried and pounded the floor. But as I continued to read the letter, I discovered something that lifted me back up. Healing. David is being healed by the grace of God. How could he write this? How could he love a God who allowed this to happen? How could David be finding peace through admitting something he had tried to hide?
What I read brought more tears and laughter through choked sobs. My brother, who has covered his pain with drugs for 20 years, is experiencing the healing power of the Holy Spirit. We have prayed for this for years. Many times we came close to giving up. But something changed for me about six months ago. Every time I prayed for David, I was filled with hope. It wasn’t hard to pray for him anymore. It felt good and full of strength.
God in His mysterious way changed my prayers and he is changing David. My mom found a note she had put in her Bible during these six months asking God to set David free. This week she was looking at that note and discovered that she had gone back last month and written, “He IS free!” The handwriting is hers. But she has no recollection of writing that postscript to the original prayer. God answers us even when we are unaware. He is good!
In David’s letter he asked me to post the picture of his tattoo along with the letter he wrote to me. That is what I will be posting next. Please read it with awe in knowing that God can do anything. God wants to restore the broken. In the words of our dear friend Amy Bafford, “This is what Jesus died for!”