Monday, January 20, 2014
"I was in prison..."
A dear friend of mine emailed me with this today.
I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the publishing of God’s word has actually prospered.
This is Paul's response to his imprisonment. He was active in sharing the Gospel with those who held him captive. But there was something about my friend's email that struck me. My friend is a man impacted by physical disability which causes him, unfortunately, to spend much time alone. But he has used his time alone to have a ministry, through his weblog, of sharing God's word such that the "publishing of God's word has actually prospered." He has an international following. He delights in telling me what country is "in the lead" regarding the visits he receives to his postings. His time he has used to develop a ministry of God's word.
He also told me of how the subject of my previous post, Joni's singing of "Alone yet not alone" describes how he often feels.
There are too many people in general, but people with disabilities in particular, who are lonely. Yes they may creatively use their social "imprisonment" to prosper the publishing of God's word like my friend. Whether that be through blogging, or prayer, or other means. Yes they are "Alone yet not alone" because of God's presence with them. But I wish they had people in their lives who spent time with them and befriended them.
We, the Christian Church, need to do better in this area. To continue to use the sad metaphor of "prison", Jesus in Matthew 25:36 states, "I was in prison and you visited me." Prisons can come in a variety of forms. Different ways in which people are separated from those around them. The social consequences of disability can be a form of "prison". We are exhorted by Christ to visit HIM in prison. What we do for our fellow people is "done unto Me".
If you don't know someone in "prison" you need to know someone in "prison" and you then need to visit them. May God make it so!