I was recently presented with an invitation to speak at the womens correctional facitity in Rankin County. While I was a bit intimiated (and fearful) of speaking to prisoners, I could not turn the invitation down.
After going through the security measures to walk to the "other side" of the razor wire fence, I found myself walking into a large room with empty chairs. I walked by each chair, placed my hand on them and prayed over the chair for the souls who would be sitting in them.
When the ladies walked in, I felt a heaviness I'd not felt in a long time. I immediately knew there those living in darkness with deceitful lifestyles, physical threats on some and others who blatantly didn't want to be in the same room with me. One common thread stuck out in my heart: loneliness. Each women in the room was dealing with extreme loneliness. No one had to tell me; it was spiritually obvious.
After listening to them sing a few hymns and an old Gospel favorite, "I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand", I got up to share. I felt the stares, I saw the nods of agreement and the tears of those who were broken. The loneliness there was unbearable.
One inmate told me, "When I get out here, I literally have nobody. I don't have any family, no parents, no brothers and sisters. Nobody. It's just me. And I can't handle it." The Lord gave me a vision which I shared with her and she was relieved. Story after story was similar.
John 14:18 says, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
When you're lonely, it's hard not to lose hope. Loneliness is the prison bars; hope being able to walk through the other side of the razor wire fence in Jesus' name!