When you work with ex-offenders trying to rebuild lives, sometimes your heart will be broken.
One thing seems to be constant for individuals trying to start over after prison. The past often stalks the future. For some, bad choices will be made, promises broken, and they will find themselves no longer in our program facing new legal consequences.
But as I've written in the past, even in those individual cases that might be labeled “failures”, God is still at work. And our organization’s "biggest failures” are often transformed into some of our biggest successes.
The reality is we live and work in a world where God often chooses to hide Himself. Sometimes God's activity in the lives of our program participants is hard to see. And other times, God's power whacks you in the face. It’s impossible to miss and all you can do is worship the Creator for his power, grace and goodness. Over and over, God chooses what our world calls “lost cases” so that His goodness is displayed most dramatically.
I shared earlier this year about one of our star graduates. After close to 20 years in prison for a string of grocery store robberies, he found it difficult to find a job when it came time to graduate our program. He finally left us a year ago for a great position at a distribution warehouse. Unfortunately, 6 months ago he was laid off because of the economy.
So it was back to the difficult task of finding work with a significant felony conviction in his past. But three weeks ago, he stopped by the warehouse excited about an interview at a local supermarket warehouse. We prayed together for God to bless this interview. We asked God to show His power by making it possible to get a job in the most unlikely of places because of the past.
God acted and we are now celebrating the third week of the perfect job. Grace always shows up as a second chance… and as an opportunity to display God’s goodness.