Last Sunday we had one of those moments in Bible class that I will never forget. We were talking about Gideon, God’s people in rebellion and God’s deliverance. In the middle of it all one of our visitors raised his hand and basically said he needed us to make it all real for him. He had gotten out of prison a few weeks ago after 5 years in jail on some extremely serious charges. He promised God that if he got out of jail that he would do whatever God wanted him to do and now he was here, in class, to learn what God wanted him to do. He went into foster care at the age of 3, was arrested on weapons charges and got charged with murder while in jail for an altercation with his cell-mate that turned fatal. God got him out but he was back in the same environment that ruined his life and he wants desperately to change and be delivered from his former way of life. Wow, wow, wow!
People came out of the woodwork to offer him love and support. They encouraged him. They supported him. They were so loving and kind and gracious. After class, our 20 somethings were exchanging phone numbers with him so they could call him outside of class. It was touching and one of those moments that is so critically pivotal that is gets burned into your mind. It was a huge reminder and wake up call that Bible study is not an intellectual game or theological gymnastics with arbitrary score cards showing how well we taught or how good the comments were this week…this is life and death. This is about redemption and resurrection and rehabilitation and not just for those who have found themselves in a physical jail but for those of us who walk about with the illusion of being free but on the inside are trapped in spiritual prisons of our own making. God is the great deliverer and just like in the book of Judges, God is patient with us even in the midst of all of our messiness…I love the Lord!