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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

My Letter to Inmates

In a typical week (remember those?) I am behind the walls portions of three days or evenings.

I’ve not been in since early March.

That also means the offenders have not had any type of visit since that time.

As a registered volunteer chaplain the Dept of Corrections mandates that I have no written communication with any inmate. Another peculiar rule is that I can have no contact with them once they are released until they are “off paper” (parole).

But I did send the following, care of the chaplain of the main institution in which I minister:

Dear Brothers and Friends at WRDCC:

Five months; more than 150 days…and I’ve not been able to hang out with you guys in the presence of our Lord.

For the four years I was locked up; and the four decades I’ve been in youth and prison ministry; never did I anticipate a “vacation” like this…

And it sucks. I miss you.

But I know it is worse for you…primarily because of no visits.

I and my people have been praying fervently for you…asking the Lord to make His presence very real and comforting to you.

I pray it won’t be long before you can see your loved ones…and they can see you!

I also pray it won’t be long before I can be with you, to worship our Lord, to share the Word, to pray.

In the meanwhile keep focused on Jesus…stay in the Word…memorize some Scripture that apply to your situation.

Don’t let time do you; you do time.

Redeem it.

I know that is easy to type; not so easy to do.

It is tough out here as well. Thankfully my feet are planted on solid ground…but so many people live in genuine fear out here on the streets.

The message for them is the message for you – you only need to fear God.

Nothing surprises Him. He never says “oops.” And Romans 8.28 reminds us that ALL things work together for good for those who love Him.

Peter Kuzmic was a Croatian pastor who spent years locked up for his faith. He wrote these words: “Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; faith is having the courage to dance to it today.”

Dance, brothers…no matter how tough it is…sure beats hell!

Love in Christ,

Hopefully the chaplain was able to post it in a place where it would be seen. Prayerfully it brings a glimmer of hope to inmates.

Zach Williams is now my favorite artist…because he not only did a concert behind the walls of a prison; but was able to record it and share it. I invite you to enjoy the following song, but pay particular attention to the “crowd shots.” Observe the reaction of prisoners…Prison is my favorite place to preach…they already know they are a mess. (Least favorite place? Christian schools…)

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