In our church, we have a member who is very involved with prison ministry in a nearby prison. Sometimes my husband, John, and I attend the closing meetings the Kairos team puts on once or twice a year.
One April John and I were supposed to go to prison on a Sunday morning, but because of a clerical error, none of those who were to be involved in the closing of Kairos 14 meeting were approved.
For those who don’t know, the Kairos translation (according to About.com) in Greek classical rhetoric, is “the opportune time and/or place, the right time to say or do the right thing.” Kairos is a prison ministry that seeks to free the souls of men and women who are bound, both in body and in spirit.
The people of Kairos are fulfilling the mission Jesus gave when he told the parable of the sheep and goats, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)
As I sat on the morning of the closing service at the prison, I was struck with the knowledge that all things happen with the Lord’s knowledge. He knew that we would not be able to attend that meeting. He knew the opposition would seem to have won in the plans we made to be an encouragement to the men involved in this event. Nothing ever happens that surprises the Lord Almighty. And because of this, we can be certain and know the Lord will move in hearts in a way that we could never have imagined.
It’s funny how the Lord works and moves. That morning I was to give the Sunday school lesson in place of our Sunday School teacher, who is the leader of that Kairos session. I was supposed to follow the next lesson, but I just couldn’t bring anything together based on the book we were studying. As I prayed that morning, the Lord reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend concerning the Bible and Bible study and felt I was being led to talk about God’s word.
I was struck with the thought that it fits right in line with what we wanted to happen that day, and what actually happened. God’s word always accomplishes what he sends it out to do. Psalm 33:4 says, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
And Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
But the verses aren’t limited to the Old Testament. 1 Peter 1:25 says, “but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.”
And Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Each of theses verses remind us that no matter what happens, God’s love is going to be shown to us and to those who don’t know him yet. It is God’s will that all should come to him, but he loves us enough to allow us to make our own decision, and he will never force us to him. Jesus tells us that he stands at the door and knocks, waiting for us to open to him. He could force the door open, but he won’t. He wants people to come to him because they want to, not because they are forced to, even if it is for our best and ultimate good.
As I wrote this I could feel a breeze coming in from outside. It was if I was sitting on this side of the Jordan and the breeze was coming to me from the mountain of God, breathing peace to me and reassuring me that all is just as it should be. I believe that Satan tries every way he can to keep us from the love that God intends for us. We are God’s most loved creatures and he uses all his malice and hatred for God by striking at humanity, causing pain, death and disease. The enemy meant the clerical snafu for evil, but God turned what the enemy meant for harm into great good. It must be very frustrating to be the enemy.