Last Sunday I posted a guest article,
written by my brother Kevin, the first half of his two-part piece,
titled, “God Is In Control.” He told the story of how he had
been shipped on a bus ride from hell from Marquette Branch Prison to
Jackson State Prison, where he was accosted, verbally abused, strip and
body cavity searched by the C. O.’s (Corrections Officers), and assigned
his cell on the top tier of a monstrous cell block he described as
a gigantic bird cage about a football field in length and over 50 feet
Frightened and broken, he wept himself to sleep that first night and
tried to keep his head and faith about him as he was going to have to
endure the extremely challenging conditions for probably a month of what
is called “Quarantine” – an evaluation period all inmates go through to
determine what facility they wind up in to serve out their sentences.
If you’d like to read the whole post, just.
At the end of last week’s post, he was held for several hours in a
glass walled room, naked, as the C. O’s were checking out a white
substance found in a glass tube discovered under his matress during a
random shakedown. He didn’t know it was there, had no idea what it was,
but if it was cocaine or some illegal drug left there by the previous
cell occupant, he could be held responsible and face even more charges.
After a harsh interrogation, another body cavity search and more verbal
abuse, he was as alone and scared as any man could be – awaiting what
fate he knew not as he was ordered back to his cell.
And now I turn this blog over to Kevin Wilson for part two, the conclusion of-
God Is In Control
As I walked across the prison compound back to my cell block on that
cold, rainy afternoon, reliving the horrors of the past six days, Satan
took his best shot at me and it was a good one. A roundhouse blow that
brought me to my spiritual knees. Tears poured down my rain-soaked face
as he showed me the folly of my many sins, the resulting loss of
everything I held dear, the uncertain and precarious future looming
before me, and the apparent hopelessness of it all.
“Father,” I prayed, “I keep thinking that it can’t get any worse.
Yet, every time I hit what I think is rock bottom, that bottom gives way
to another false bottom, and then another, and yet another. When will
you raise me up, Lord … when?”
It was then the Holy Spirit reminded me of some words originally
written to the Israelites dozens of centuries ago, and that He had
recently stamped onto the tablet of my heart.
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way
these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to test you, to
know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or
not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna
which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you
know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every
word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the
Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to
those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall
faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who
wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with
wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and
not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
As I claimed those promises, Satan was rendered helpless and he
slithered away to lick his wounds. With a newfound resolve and a spring
in my step, I made my way back to my cell knowing that God was in
control and that all I needed to do was be faithful to Him and wait on
Him. He would handle the rest. My future was in His hands and I could
trust Him implicitly.
Once back in my cell, I shared with Kirk, a non-practicing Catholic,
all that had occurred not only that day, but over the past five months. I
told him that, regardless of all the seemingly terrible things that had
happened to me, I was confident God was in absolute control and I could
trust Him to do whatever He needed to do to bring glory to His name
through me and to keep me safe. Kirk was very intrigued by my faith. Our
conversation that day sparked more talks over the next several days.
After about two weeks, Kirk came to know Christ as his personal Lord and
I would like to share with you what the Holy Spirit taught me through the experiences of those difficult six days.
I need to stop focusing on the seemingly terrible things that
happen and look for the miracles that He consistently accomplishes right
under my nose, and that prove He is present and in control.
To the faithless (and that is too often me), these miracles may seem
small, insignificant, even coincidental at the time. But when taken as a
whole over a period of time, I simply cannot deny the fact that in His
sovereignty He is accomplishing His will through them, and watching my
back at the same time. And, if I am willing to stop worrying and whining
about the circumstances that so often overwhelm me, I would be able to
see the incredible work of His hand and take great comfort in it.
Take for instance all the circumstances surrounding those fateful six
days from Q-block to the shakedown. Peel away the events that caused my
fears to overwhelm me and look at how God was moving. It is plain to
see that He not only was guiding and protecting me; He was also setting
up what I like to refer to as a “divine appointment” between Kirk and me
that would lead to Kirk’s salvation.
Think about it. Being that the bus from Marquette Branch Prison to
Jackson only runs twice monthly, depending on what day I was sentenced, I
might have spent as many as two weeks in that hell hole. As it turned
out, I was held there only one night. Coincidence?
Yes, the bus ride to Jackson was a nightmare. I’d never want to go
through that again. But what a blessing it was that I was chained to
Tony who, in his kindness, eased a lot of my trepidation by explaining
the ins and outs of prison life. His advice has proven to be invaluable.
The bird cages at Jackson State Prison, shakedown and all, were a
harrowing experience I will never forget and would never wish upon
anyone. Yet being bunked with Kirk not only eased my anxieties, it also
gave the Lord the opportunity to reach out to Kirk through me. Just a
Do you see it? Too often I focus on the negative situations that
confront me and miss the incredible work that God wants to do through me
and for me. I shudder to think of how many opportunities for blessings
and ministry I have missed because I failed to realize how big God is
and how easily I could help accomplish His will if I would just trust
When I read the Old Testament story of the Israelites, I often am
annoyed by their childish and immature lack of faith. God parts the Red
Sea for them one day and a couple days later they are whining for lack
of water. God provides water from a rock in the desert, then they
grumble for lack of food. God delivers them manna from heaven and they
want meat instead. As I read I get so disgusted with them, yet I am not
one iota stronger in my faith than they were. This must change and the
Holy Spirit will assist me if I allow Him to.
I need to learn to recognize when God is manifesting His
presence to me in the manner in which He chooses, not necessarily in the
manner I choose or desire, and to take comfort in the fact that His
presence indicates He is in command of all things.
Too often, when I am in the midst of one of my woe-is-me moments, I
cry out to Him and ask Him to give me relief, to make His presence known
to me. What exactly is it I am expecting – a warm, fuzzy feeling to
come over me and make me feel all better? Do I require an audible voice
to calm my fears? Or maybe I want Him to fix my problems in the manner
in which I demand with no consideration for what He is trying to bring
to pass. I just want Him to do what I think will make me feel better.
Time and time again, over the course of the past six months, God has
revealed Himself to me, not as a warm fuzzy feeling, or by speaking to
me in a human voice, or by accommodating my selfish petitions, but
rather by doing His will with me as one of His instruments. What greater
blessing is there than that? What more proof do I need? Still in all,
within days of witnessing a miracle, with me serving as a tool guided by
God’s hands, I am right back to whining and floundering about in the
quicksand of my fledgling faith just like the ancient Israelites. This
too must change, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
So yes, God is in total control and He will succeed in His plan much
more easily if I can learn to trust in Him without question or
complaint. Please pray for my continued spiritual growth in that
Oh yeah – that white powdery substance the C. O. found under my
mattress during the shakedown? Never heard another word about it. It
must’ve tested negative for any known illicit drug. The inmate who
occupied that cell before me certainly had some reason to take such
pains to hide whatever it was. Maybe God changed the chemical properties
of it from cocaine to Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. I’ll bet the
lab technician is still shaking his head about that one! (wink and
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