I drove up to the corner where the jail was, the first thing I notice was the 15 foot high fence and the copious amounts of barbed wire. They had rolls and rolls of it. At the bottom of the fence the middle and the top! As I pulled into the parking lot I heard some female voices through the open window of my truck. I looked in that direction and at first all I could see was a block wall. However on a second glance I was able to make out small holes in the wall and what looked like a basketball hoop. I pulled up to the front door to drop my wife off. She was very nervous. She was choosing to step into a foreign world not knowing what to expect. She knew she couldn't have any communication with the outside world. No cell phone, no credit cards. She would be thoroughly searched and watched at all times. There was a lot of unknowns and fears associated with that. However her love for her friend who was in there was even greater than any fears she might have. Her friend needed her love, her joy and her bravery to push through those fears.
I sat in the parking lot and pondered the building in front of me and the stories of the women who were in there. As I thought of the structure that they had created to keep them in there and all the freedoms that Jess had to give up so that she could see her friend, it reminded me of why I run Redemption Road.
So many men and women live in the prison of their own mind: Held captive behind the walls and barbed wire of spiritual agreements and proclamations of death over their lives. “I don’t have what it takes.” “I will never be good enough.” “No one really cares about me.” “I’m unloveable.” “I’ll never measure up.” These are just a few of the agreements we make that hold us captive. Sometime we can still see the freedom we long for but when we go to get it we find that the walls stop us and the barbed wire cuts us up. I have known many men who have tried so many times to get free and have not been able to, so that they simply resorted to staying in Jail and not even trying to be free.
I also resonate with my wife’s fear of entering jail to interact with her friend. When myself and 12 other men staff this next weekend in May, we will be choosing to give up a vacation day at work, a weekend with our families, cell service and our connectedness to the world. We will be giving of our own hurts and empathy. We will be attacked by the demonic and some of us have already experienced that. My team and I are willing to give all this up and experience these hardship for the same reason my wife experienced them--The same reason Jesus experienced for me, Love. Love is what drives us. Love for our King and the desire to bring his Kingdom which means partnering with Jesus in destroying the kingdom of darkness that sets up these lies. Love for the men who come. Tenderness for the way the enemy has ensnared them.
I’m also sad because many great men will read this and think, “That’s not me. I’m not in Jail. I don’t need help” In that moment the enemy will have won. Unlike the women in that Jail who know they are in jail and long to get out but are held there against there will, many of us Christians willingly live in prison. The truth is that even though Jesus paid it all you still turn to porn, food, money, nicotine, and many other things for comfort instead of Jesus. When the dark messages of your mind start chirping- where do you go? What kind of death does that unleash on your family?
As a man who knows the battle in my life and who is actively battling in the lives of many other men I strongly urge you in the Lord to come and experience the freedom you were always designed to live in. I have NEVER met a problem too big for my King. Come experience the amazing love of Jesus this May.
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