Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Conversations with Random People -21

We spent a good portion of Monday afternoon on the third floor of a courthouse in a neighboring county.  We were there is support of an acquaintance who was to appear before the court.  The floor was paved in a tessellated octogon/triangle pattern, the overhead skylight a geometric wonder.

As our crew gathered in the hallway, so did others, people with whom we were not acquainted.  The saddest part of the day was watching a parade of young people, some probably not yet out of their teens, passing by in shackles, escorted by a sheriff's deputy and headed to a courtroom.

A gentleman with our group, sixty-ish, unassuming, and garbed in gray shirt and gray dockers introduced himself to me and stated that he was a jail chaplain.  Conversations went on in clusters in the hallway, various people came and went.  I, tired of standing, sat on a nearby chair and simply observed.  People-watching is a fine pastime.  After awhile I noted the chaplain standing to one side contemplating whatever pictures were moving in his head, so l went over to him and

Just to satisfy my curiosity, tell me, what circumstances led to your chaplaincy?
 If I told you, you wouldn't believe it, so I'll tell you anyhow.
Say on; you have further piqued my curiosity.
Ten years ago I was one of these people.  I have done time.  Then in 2009 I met the Lord Jesus Christ and He transformed my life.  I committed myself to follow God's will in all things.  Then one day he spoke to me and said, I want you to start a jail ministry.  I replied, Unhuh.  I don't want to be a minister.  And the Lord said, I don't care what you want.  You will be a minister.  So I started calling at the jail, meeting with those who wanted to talk seriously about their lives and circumstances.  After a time, the sheriff's department called and asked for my clothing sizes.  Oh, no, I said, you are not going to knit me one of those orange suits.  No, we are going to give you a uniform fitting to your position as official chaplain and you will then be granted free passage in the jail at all hours.  So I am a chaplain.
Wow.  That is an amazing story,  God will open doors for those who will obey His calling.
Indeed, he said.  And there is more.  Just a year ago the Lord told me he wanted me to be the pastor of a local church, an old but dying church in the community. (He named the church.)  Oh, no, Lord, not me.  I don't want to be a pastor.  And God said, I don't care what you want.
Seems, I said, the Lord gets His way with you in spite of what you want.
Truth, he said.  There is no bargaining with God.  It is His way or no way.  At any rate, when I took the church they were down to about fifteen souls in attendance.  Less than twelve months later, we are running fifty-five and growing a bit week-by-week.
Another example, I said, of the Lord's faithfulness.  Keep the faith and carry on!

We spoke of many other things, and the wait was not yet over.

More amazing perhaps than the floor or the ceiling is the staircase:


Secondary Roads said...

A truly beautiful story of amazing grace.

Jim Grey said...

Be careful about turning your life fully over to the Lord, because he's likely to fully take you up on it!

vanilla said...

Chuck, God is faithful.

Jim, that is an accurate observation; happens every time.

Lin said...

Wow. That is a wonderful story for the day! And inspirational.

I do hope your friend fared well in court. That is not a fun place to be. I do, however, love to sit and people watch in that place. Everyone has a story. Some worse than others.

vanilla said...

Lin, fared well in that the outcome seems fair. I continue praying for his spiritual welfare.

The gentleman's story is an inspiration and a reminder that broken people can be mended. Praise be to God!

Sharkbytes said...

good stuff

Vee said...

Amazing testimony of God's faithfulness.

I want that stairway in my house - never mind that it would fill my entire space.