May 15, 2014

Prison Letter

Jim's dad recently shared with me a letter he wrote and gave me permission to post it:

It was gray half-light as Paul began to wake up. He knew it was day because the rats and mice scurrying to find a day time hiding place, was probably what woke him up. It wasn't really day light, he never saw any; there were no windows in his prison. As he became more alert, he immediately went to prayer.

God had protected him through the night, and had given him another day to worship and praise Him and he did so.  Paul's prayer list was even longer than his worship and praise time, for he prayed faithfully for all the churches the Lord had used him to start, then he prayed for the individual helpers and close friends he had. Then he had to relieve himself, he went to the corner that he used for that and took care of nature, he had no bathroom, and he didn't worry about washing up, he had no water to do so.  He had no bed, so he didn't have to make it.  He did kick some straw that had scattered back up on to the small, low pile he had, and that started the rats and mice scurrying again. He slept on the pile at night and they hid in it by day, there was no place else. The filthy dirt floors and the forlorn straw pile were the things in the room.

With his prayer and praise time accomplished, Paul felt renewed and somewhat refreshed. He turned to his most precious possessions a few books of the Bible and some parchment epistles. He had read them so many times yet they comforted him and god seemed especially close when he read the Word.  He had no way of knowing what time it was, but the jailer had been by a couple of times making his rounds so Paul thought it must be getting late afternoon.

As he surveyed his cell he noticed a centipede wiggling in a spider web. He was thankful for the spiders for they kept the flies down, and there were certainly were lots of flies, Paul realized that this whole prison had such a stench that it almost made your eyes water, and he realized he was a part of the stench.  He had not bathed in also many months that he was not sure when his last bath was, nor had his clothes been changed or washed, he only had the ones on his back.

Paul was starting to feel hunger, he had not eaten in two days, but maybe today he would have a visitor who would bring his food, the only time he got to eat was when that happened, the prison fed nobody.  Usually the jailer would bring around water a couple of times a day, if he felt like it.

Today was Paul's special blessing day for late in the evening a fellow believer came to visit and brought an ample bowl of food.  Paul savored every bite, and ate till it was all gone, because he had no way or place to keep leftovers, only those rats would get them.  The thing that made Paul the most joyful was this friend had brought pen, ink, and some parchment. Paul wrote, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:11-13
Written by J.M.S.

1 comment:

Sarah Heywood said...

Wow - this just really makes Scripture come alive, doesn't it? Thanks for posting!