“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
I had a God moment this week. A gal from jail wrote asking that I come to court to support her as she appeared before the judge. Let’s call this woman “Jane.” Another Bible study chaplain friend and prayer warrior also came. Jane was asking something rather audacious of the courts. She was asking for something she didn’t deserve. She has been in and out of jail and prison most of her adult life because of drugs. Her last charge could have put her back into prison for three and a half years. Jane wasn’t supposed to appear until mid December and got her court date moved up, plus she was asking for something opposite of what the judge and lawyers were recommending.
She has sat over four months in the county jail most recently. She’s studied the Bible each time she’s been in, come to Bible studies I’ve led for over 16 years. In and out. But Jane says she is broken, finished, done with meth. She wants Jesus and wants a different life. I hear desperation and maybe hope. She applied for Teen Challenge (David Wilkerson’s faith based powerful rehab program) on her own, and I mean on her own. Her Native American background makes most of what she attempts to do apart from her culture on her own. Here it is a culture riddled with drugs and death.
Back to court. The District Attorney and her public defender that looked like he just got out of high school bantered sacrilegiously previous to the beginning of the proceedings. I think they must not care about the cases as individuals, but must have to distance themselves somehow. As the hearing finally begins, the judge reviews her case and tells of how this looks hopeless as she reviews the years of drug and battery charges, the years of incarceration. We sit and pray silently. It stretches out much longer than we would like–just get to the punch line.
Finally, yes! She allows Jane to go Teen Challenge for at least six months. Actually it is a 13 month program and its recidivism rate in the first year is like 20% (vs. a 70% National average). In my 17 years of jail ministry, I have not seen an inmate actually follow through on pursuing going there and a judge actually placing someone into this program. Hallelujah! God sees and He hears and He is working in Jane’s life to bring about a miracle.
Jane was released to leave for Teen Challenge that same day. She motioned for my friend and I to wait downstairs and we nodded that we would. We waited with her mom and one of her sons, and a couple of others. When she got down in her street clothes, she first came to give her mom a hug and mom pulled her close and said in a low, stern voice “if you stay at my house, you cannot bring your Bibles with you.” It was the voice of the enemy so quickly in her face and ours.
We stood around the corner, respectfully waiting to give her a hug and quickly pray with her. I told her I would mail her Bibles to her, but she must have her Bibles with her at Teen Challenge. She said, “Oh no, I’ll put them in the garage. She never goes there.” God is able.
I must come boldly to the throne of grace–boldly and audaciously to ask and keep asking God to do big things just as Jane did this week. He is not an overworked judge, He is one who is one waiting to dispense mercy and grace for me. For Jane. For all of us.