Tough Circumstances

Trust-in-God-620x250Have you ever wondered how God can use you in certain circumstances? I know I’ve written about this briefly before, but I just wanted to share a little bit more how God is at work in my life, how He takes the tough, impossible situations and brings good out of them. And, hopefully, this will encourage you, bring you a sense of hope, and remind you that no matter what you are facing, God has complete control of your life. He has you placed right where He wants you and needs you. At this moment, God has provided you with the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect financial situation, just the overall perfect life….the life He needs you to live to bring Him glory. Your life may not be what you had planned when you were younger or even just a few years ago. But this is the path God wants you to go down right now. He teaches you lessons in every aspect of your life, both good and bad. It is our job to grasp these lessons and learn from them.

I never in my wildest imagination ever dreamed that I’d be serving time in a Federal prison for a few years of my life. As a kid, I had always dreamed of being a professional baseball player, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Obviously, that didn’t happen. No, God did not plan for me to come to prison. I made my own choices, and the consequences of those choices placed me here. But He is using this circumstance in my life to grow and to develop me into the godly man He wants me to be.

In February of 2014 I started my Federal Prison Mission. Yes, I call it a mission because I’m striving to further God’s kingdom while being here. I first was assigned to a medium security prison in Mississippi. I had no clue why I got designated to a medium prison. People who have similar types of crime as mine, and sentenced to time similar to mine, and who are first time offenders like me do not go to a medium facility. They either go to a minimum or to a low facility. Medium facilities are for repeat offenders, violent criminals, and those with longer sentences, none of which come close to fitting me. Next I heard that I had to go to a medium because I got extra time in a state sentence, and they want to make sure I don’t escape. As frightened as I was, I was content and knew God was in control and that He would protect me. So I accepted the assigned place.

Twelve days into my stay at the medium facility, I had to place myself in protective custody…. “the hole”…. as my life was being threatened. While in “the hole,” I had a meeting with my case manager and asked him why I was assigned to a medium security prison. He said it was not because of my extra time but because my points were too high and were not at a low security prison status. Every inmate is assigned points for the type of crime they commit, level of education, age, violent past, and repeat offenses, to name some of the criteria. The more categories a person fits into, the higher his points are, requiring them to go to a higher security prison. My case manager told me that I had a total of 19 points, just three points below a maximum security prison! I was shocked! He didn’t know why because he did not receive my case file at that time. My points were actually higher than some who were incarcerated because of murder. The caseworker and I found that to be strange. But there was nothing I could do about it at this time except to continue to pray and put the situation into God’s hands.

I ended up being in “the hole” for over five months before being transferred to a low security prison in Seagoville, Texas. Shortly after arriving at Seagoville, I met with my new case manager. The first question I asked was how many points I had and how did I go from a medium to a low facility in six months with the amount of points I had. She told me I dropped down to 10 points. Again I was shocked! It is impossible to go from 19 points to 10 points in six months. That kind of change takes years to reduce. To reduce your points, you have to take classes and work, none which I did while staying in “the hole.” It seemed as if a mistake had been made, although she didn’t come out and say so. I believe I was originally assigned to a medium security prison because the Feds made a huge mistake with my point classification.

As I look back now and remember how scary the situation was, I can honestly say that I was glad I experienced it. I truly believe God had a hand in allowing that mistake to occur. Because of the mistake, positive results have occurred in my life. One, I had to trust God even more and develop a faith like none other, knowing that no matter where I was or what I was doing, God would pull me through it. Two, God gave me the chance to witness to my two cellies in the hole and spread God’s love to them. Three, I had many hours of time to study and read God’s Word on a daily basis. God was testing me, developing me, and preparing me for the next few years of my life in prison. He knows that I’ll encounter all sorts of circumstances and He needs me to be 100% devoted to Him in every aspect of my life. He puts the toughest soldiers in some of the toughest situations. Now I’m not saying I’m a tough soldier, but being placed in a medium security prison was a tough place. God was there with me and He turned a tough, depressing, impossible circumstance into one that helped me grow in my faith and walk with Christ. Was I supposed to be in a medium security prison? No. Did I want to go to a medium security prison? No. Was I needed in a medium security prison to do God’s work and further His kingdom? Absolutely, yes! We will never be able to understand God. But we must trust Him no matter the circumstances He puts before us. It’s for a reason, a reason to help us and to do His work to bring Him glory! May you accept where you are right now and live a life that reflects God in all areas!

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