For all of us there are times where the sun shines through the clouds. One glimpse of the sun reminds us that there is light behind the darkness, even the deepest darkness of life.
Andrew’s next letter begins, “The sun is bright in my life today like my Heavenly Father.” The long days in prison are a mental stream of daily duties, past regrets, future hopes and eternal truths. In the library, he finds the few books that feed his spirit, especially the Bible. “I’ve been reading up on the origins of the Bible and First Kings (an Old Testament historical book), enjoying the studies about Christianity.”
In addition to my letters and those of a few church friends, he turns to prayer as a connection to the outside world. He prays that God would heal his family relationships, for his friend, Aaron and others he met on the outside. He prays for his future, that God would change him and use him for the good of others.
“I was praying earlier today and half an hour later I got your letter! The Lord and me are becoming friends again. My confidence level is much better. I thought it was funny when I was praying earlier. It was for others, including Aaron, then you said, ‘Pray for stubborn human traits’ and it hit me, I’ve finally got what it takes and now I just have to stay persistent and not fall astray.”
I always try to draw on his experiences and ask his opinion, knowing that will spur a sense of purpose. I happened to mention our church was having our parking lot paved. This sparked a flurry of advice. “I’ve been in construction for over twelve years, and $33,000 (the price quoted) is a little too much. Make sure when they pour the asphalt it is at least flour inches or better. One popular thing with pavers is that they skimp on material…
“One more thing, after a year or so you’ve got to sealcoat and then stripe it. Just keep in mind that oil leaks eat holes in your pavement. You know I have a thing for this kind of stuff!”
“Incarceration” is a state of mind. I’ve said earlier that not all prisons have walls. Andrew’s does, but God has helped him to think outside of those walls, to the future that He wants for him. “I’m planning to stay in the Concord area a while since I’ll be paroling here, hopefully not doing the street life. I have my ID so it shouldn’t be hard to get a place (to live), plus my Heavenly Father wants better for me.”
One glimpse of the sun can lead to others and before long, the darkness lifts. In his next letter, Andrew takes more steps into the light and becomes a light himself as Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Prison becomes a little world in itself in which he seeks to be used by God as he waits to re-enter the outside world.