Post image for Incarcerated – Part 8

Incarcerated – Part 8

by DanWolgemuth on June 21, 2019

Before Mark… Lisa.

I met Lisa at a Youth For Christ event in Kansas City. Her story gripped my heart as she shared vividly what it was like to have her front door kicked in by the police who were there to arrest her thirteen-year-old son. That was over three years ago. It wasn’t until a month ago that Lisa was able to be close enough to her son to actually give him a hug. Three years, without a mother’s embrace.

Lisa’s son had witnessed a terrible crime and for three years, he awaited trial. Three years.

As Lisa escorted us on this incredible journey, she communicated the pain she feels each time she leaves the detention facility. Each time she walks away from her son. Each time she hears the words of her Heavenly Father…

“You don’t have this, and you can’t fix this. Trust me.”

The words sting, even as they bring some level of comfort.

Enter Mark. A Youth For Christ volunteer mentor. A man who has a brother serving a life sentence. A man with a passion and burden to live into the lives of incarcerated young men.

Vocationally, Mark is a commercial real estate guy, but in the eyes of Lisa, Mark is an answer to her daily prayers. “The angel” that Lisa prays will surround her son.

As I listened to Lisa share her story, and as I engaged in conversation with Mark, I came to realize the powerful partnership that God Himself forges. A Mom who “doesn’t have this,” and a God who inspires, calls and makes a pathway for a mentor like Mark.

The words Lisa spoke stirred my heart. It humbled me in a fresh way. Had my 26 hours in the JDC been the answer to a mother’s prayer? Were the smiles I shared, the conversation I engaged in, the stories I was trusted with only possible because somebody had prayed those moments into being?

Maybe a mom. Maybe a dad. Maybe a grandparent… and maybe an army called the Church.

In that moment, a dream was born. Deep in my core.

What if every juvenile on the inside, had someone on the outside? Someone who interceded. Someone who advocated before the Father. Someone who prayed earnestly that God would send more “Mark’s,” more voices of grace, forgiveness, hope and love.

In that moment I realized that my work at the JDC isn’t done. Just because the clock expired on my 26 hours doesn’t mean the box is checked. No, 26 hours was the onramp to the dream.

What if all 80,000 juveniles who will spend the night “inside” a lockup tonight, had somebody on the “outside” lifting them, literally carrying them to the Father of grace and mercy. What if every young person who was processed through intake, who had their mug shot taken, knew that at that very moment a system of prayer was initiated for them? What if every incarcerated young person knew that just because they’re behind bars doesn’t mean they’re beyond God’s reach?

Before Mark came, Lisa prayed. Before Mark opened God’s Word, Lisa pled. As Mark felt the call to respond, Lisa confessed her helplessness, but not hopelessness.

Before Mark… Lisa.

For everyone inside the system… somebody outside on their knees.

The dream is born.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36–38)

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them… (Hebrews 13:3)

I was in prison and you came to me… (Matthew 25:36)

Praying earnestly on the outside. Serving boldly on the inside.

For Christ our King.

What about you?

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