“He’s back!!! What’s wrong with him now?,” exclaimed the medication nurses who recognized him from his previous incarceration, which was not long ago. I walked into the jail’s pharmacy to check if there was any medication already given to this young patient. He requested to be seen, complaining of nausea and vomiting and inability to sleep.
A chorus of opinions continued to flood the tiny room, filled with many different kinds of medications in different forms.
“Remember him, nurse Rcubes? He was just released. He looks like a walking zombie now,” added one medication nurse.
“He learned his drug use from his own mom. She’s also an addict,” joined another one.
“He told me though that he learned it initially from a friend, not his mom,” I uttered.
“No! He’s lying! It was from his mom,” insisted that particular commenter.
“I don’t know. But I know in my heart that he told me the truth. That’s not important anyway. I just hope that he’ll still get out of this nasty trap so he can live,” I answered.
Sadly, I discovered that there was no other medications to be given to him as everything was already initiated the day he entered the jail.
“Thank you Ma’am for checking,” he uttered in a soft, whisper-like voice.
“Sir, as someone who believes in you, I just want you to know that there are resources outside, when you get released, to help you get out of this bad habit. You are still young. Only 18. It doesn’t matter even if you’re using heroin for 2 years now. There is a way out. But the change to become a better person has to come from you. I believed what you told me, that you learned it from a friend. And even if there are influences around you, you don’t have to go with that flow. If you don’t stop, you will end your life because of this…”
Waiting for a nasty response and attitude, he replied, “Thank you, Ma’am. I will try. You’re right. I want to live some more…,” as his sad gaze pierced my own vision and felt some gratitude with his expression. He got up and went back to his unit.
As I stood still and in my mind prayed, “Lord, You are the One Who can make that change possible in this young man who has so many potential. Despite that no one believes in him anymore, You do. I do…Because You made the changes in my stubborn heart long time ago, too…”
The dictionary describes the word “stifle” with the following:
~ to quell, crush, or end by force: to stifle a revolt; to stifle free expression.
~ to suppress, curb, or withhold: to stifle a yawn
~ to kill by impeding respiration; smother.
Paul had reminded us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 not to stifle the Holy Spirit. He went on to verse 20 by adding not to scoff at prophecies. We should not ignore or toss aside the gifts the Holy Spirit gives. V.21 - but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.
In 1 Corinthians 14:39, he talked about “speaking in tongues”. Sometimes, spiritual gifts become controversial and may cause a division in the church. Instead of trying to solve a problem, some Christians prefer to smother the gifts. But it impoverishes the church. We should not stifle the Holy Spirit’s work in anyone’s life but encourage the full expression of these gifts to benefit the whole body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Nobody from my co-workers wanted to believe that inmate. But what if he’s telling the truth? He may have a long history of being a drug addict, a menace to this society…but we don’t have to be famous, rich, nor good looking to be used by God. He uses common, ordinary people from all walks of life to make His glory known. Look at some of the people God used in the Bible:
~ Sarah was barren but gave birth to Isaac in her old age
~ Moses was an ordinary guy God used to deliver the people from the crushing hand of the Pharaoh
~ Joshua who had faith in God was used by the Lord and who led God’s people to defeat Jericho
~ Rahab was a common prostitute, but she believed God and saved Joshua’s spies.
~ Paul, who was an angry man, a strict Jew, who persecuted Christians. He was a Pharisee who approved the stoning of Stephen. Yet, he was seen by God as a man for a special job. He met Jesus through a vision and his conversion started from there [Acts 9:1-19]. His journeys, sufferings, works are all in “Acts of the Apostles” and he also wrote letters to churches at Rome, Corinth, and others.
I can go on and on but the point is God used ordinary people whose weaknesses He turned into strength. If Christ, himself was ordinary being a carpenter’s son, why would we think or expect that God would just use special people for His purposes?
When it seems that things are impossible, don’t forget that God’s glory shines through the weakest vessels….
“But God told Samuel, "Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart." - 1Samuel 16:7 [The Message]
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].