May 30, 2024

I was in Prison, and You Visited Me

Hebrews 13:1-8

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

—  Hebrews 13:3

It is hard for me to forget the look on my neighbor's face. My daughter asked what I was planning to do that evening, and I said I was going to jail. The neighbor, sitting on his side of the fence that separated our yards, had a look of astonishment on his face. After dinner that evening, I headed over to the county jail with a group of men, and we shared the love of Jesus with some of the inmates there.

Visiting prisoners has been one of the richest experiences of my life. Week after week, we gathered with a group of mostly young men. We were in the highest security section of the prison. These were people charged with murder. If found guilty, they would likely be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. When these men entered the jail, they often prayed that they would be found innocent. But after several months of meeting around God's Word, these men changed their prayers. They began to thank God for putting them in jail. They asked for forgiveness for their crimes and their sins. Joy replaced fear and anxiety. Having been on the path to destruction, they had met the risen Lord and were now living in the kingdom. Though in prison, they knew they were free in Christ—and few look forward to life in the new kingdom more than they do!

Jesus, help us to remember prisoners. We were all prisoners to sin and death—and you freed us, giving us new life! May we use our freedom to lead others to freedom. In your name, Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

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