A number of years ago, while a friend of mine named Frank Constantino was doing some ministry in a prison, the chaplain asked him if he would like to visit inmates on lock-down. Frank always welcomed the chance to go to lockdown because he had been sentenced to 22 ½ years and served time in some of the worst prisons in Florida. He truly understood what inmates on lock-down go through. It is the roughest place to do your time. They never get to go to the gym or the yard and are totally isolated from general population. So, lock-down is always a golden opportunity to share the gospel because these inmates welcome visitors.
As Frank was being escorted to D block, the guard told him that these inmates were the worst of the worst. They were not able to function with the rest of the population. Once they locked them up, they threw away the key. He went on to say, “If they throw urine on you, it’s not my fault.” Frank told me later that his first thought was That could ruin my day! While climbing the long flight of stairs to D block, the guard then said, “This is where we keep the animals.” Frank said he thought to himself this might not be like most lockdowns.
When the solid-steel door opened, Frank said the floor was literally moving with maggots in the rotting food that had been thrown out of the cells. The walls were covered with feces and urine. It was worse than he could’ve imagined.
At the first cell, Frank said, “Hey.” The inmate screamed, “Get out of here!” Frank moved to the next cell. Same thing there, and at the next. As he approached the next cell, he thought he’d better shift gears. Before the guy inside could say anything, Frank said, “You got a brother?”
The guy yelled at Frank. “What do you want to know that for?”
“I just wondered if you had a brother.”
“Yeah, I got a brother.”
“How would you like it if your brother wrote you a letter and said, “I want to come to the prison you’re in and do time on D block, just like you”?
The guy got really crazy and said, “My brother better not come up here. I will kick his #*^%.”
“Have you got a sister?” Frank asked.
“What do you want to know if I got a sister for?”
“Hey, I ain’t asking for her phone number. I just asked if you got a sister.”
“Yeah, I got a sister.”
“What if your sister wrote you a letter and said she’d like to meet a man like you, trust her life to him and marry him?”
“My sister better not marry a man like me. She better not even get around anyone like me.”
Frank said, “Well, if you wouldn’t want your brother to be like you, and you wouldn’t want your sister to marry a man like you, then you must not be happy with who you are.”
The inmate answered, “You’re right man. But I am just not ready to give it all up.”
Frank said he looked at the moving floor, the urine and feces all over the walls, and said, “I see what you mean. Who’d want to give all this up?”
Isn’t it sad to think a person could be at such a low place in their life and still not be ready to surrender? Wow!
Thankfully, everyone does have a bottom, and only God knows what that bottom is. If you are reading this from a jail cell or lockdown, or maybe you’re on the streets and are more locked up than those behind walls and steel. Right now could be the time for you to give it all up. Wherever you are right now, ask Jesus to take control of your life and let Him be your pilot from now on.
In HIS grip,
If you made the decision to give Jesus control of your life, would you let me know about it. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org