Here are more thoughts from Joe Widick while I am in China.
Have you ever driven down one of the southern highways enjoying the scenery only to have it interrupted by an old car is someone’s front yard? The car had evidently been sitting in the same place since it stopped running. It seems to be rusting away, has no value, not pretty to look at. There are others who can look at that same car and visualize what it would look like once it is restored. They can see the beauty of the structure, the former color shinning through. They can visualize getting behind the wheel once it is restored and driving it through town, renewing memories of those who see it. Interesting! How one person sees a clunker and another sees a restored beauty.
Recently, I have been visiting the jail, talking with some of the inmates, trying to offer some type of encouragement and doing a little teaching. It has been rewarding. One particular man that I talked with recently had grown very discouraged. It seems as though the legal process had come to a complete stop and he felt as though he was being forgotten. As I left the jail the other day, I asked myself what went wrong in his life. What steps did he take that led him to being put in jail in Wilson County? Where did it all begin? Was there neglect in his home growing up? Was he abused, mistreated in some way, or simply overlooked in his family. Did his parents spend any time with him? As he began making bad choices, did anyone offer guidance to help him? Later I talked with this man’s cell mate and through our conversation; I found that this one who was growing so discouraged could sing. On my next visit, I talked to him about this gift. I wish that you could have seen his face light up! There was something there that he enjoyed doing. Beneath that orange jumpsuit and behind those walls was someone who loved to sing. We have begun talking about Jesus. It is interesting when you look at the life Jesus lived that you can see a man who specializes in castoffs. He is waiting to transform anyone who will trust Him—even this young man who feels so all alone. Jesus will take him “as is.” If he will believe, if he will trust, Jesus can begin to restore this young man to the abundant life He has promised. Paul told the Corinthians “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). Remember Salvation is not simply turning over a new leaf, but receiving a new life.
Prayer Thought: Be with those who teach Your word to the lost.