Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all thou dost provide!
Thanks for time now but a memory,
thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
thanks for peace within my soul!
-an old Swedish hymn
It’s very early right now, about 4:00 am. By my guess, there can’t be more than 2 or 3 other inmates awake too. I can hear the soft hum of one or two TV sets. A faint voice and music from a radio. I haven’t had much sleep this past month. No need for alarm. I’m not sick or depressed. I’ve just been thinking a lot. Thinking about the past year and what has come from it.
The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who was pictured as a man with two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. The beginning of a New Year provides a valuable time to ponder the past while anticipating the future. At night, and early morning, I’ve been doing a lot of pondering and anticipating. Praising and giving thanks to God for everything that has taken place in my life — the good and the bad!
From the wonderful people he has planted in my life, to even the few who have been uprooted and left my side. The lessons learned and the lessons that I’m still trying to find the meaning from. The joy and sadness, the trials and triumphs. My failures and victories, my tears of both heartbreak and laughter.
Three steps forward, two steps back… each day I woke up to choose if I would either learn from yesterday and improve my life and walk with Christ, or give up and become another statistic in the California prison system. Truthfully, there were many days I wanted to choose the latter. Giving up was the easiest thing to do (my mind told me.) But knowing that there were many people praying for me on a daily basis, maybe even that very hour, allowed me to shake off the “giving up” feeling, and pour on the anointing oil of your love and prayers.
Rev. William Secker once wrote, “Times of trouble have often been times of triumph to a believer. Suffering seasons have generally been sifting seasons in which the Christian has lost his chaff, and the hypocrite his courage.” Last year, and the past 2 more, have been a very long season in my life. However, it’s been the best seasons of my life. I still don’t fully understand God’s plan for me. Nor the full reason of my incarceration. I’ve come to many crossroads on my current faith journey. Many, if not all, crossroads gave me the opportunity to ask the Lord “Why?”
In his book, Day by Day, Vance Havner said, “God marks across some of your days, ‘Will explain later!'”
Oh, how true that was, and is, in my life. On the crossroads that triggered my thoughts to question God, I almost always chose to “suck-it-up” and walk on. Hoping in time that He would “explain later”. Many times He did, and others I’m still waiting on an explanation. But in time I’m sure I will know. It’s always a spirit-filled moment.
“My life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
“Oft times He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.
“Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
“The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.”
-The Weaving, by Grant Colfax Tullar
My friends, I need to personally thank you for helping me get through the year of 2002. With Christ holding my right hand, and you, in prayer and support, holding my left, I was able to grow spiritually stronger and wiser. I also need to personally, with all my heart, soul, and mind thank my mentor Marshall* for all the wisdom, support, correction, and love he has given me. He has set a firm godly example in my heart. Thank you Lord for Marshall. *–Marshall Mickley went home to the Lord shortly after this was written.
Looking ahead, there is nothing but glory. According to the Bible there is a day when heaven’s trumpets will sound, when Jesus will come to earth again and exercise final judgment, and when believers will live with the Lord forever (I Thessalonians 4:13-17). Oh what a beautiful future I have waiting for me — you do too.
“Lord of the compost heap
you take garbage
and turn it into
soil, good soil
for seeds to root
with wildest increase
flowers to bloom
with brilliant beauty.
Take all the garbage
of my life
Lord of the compost heap
turn it into
soil good soil
and then plant seeds
to bring forth
fruit and beauty
-Joseph Bayle, Psalms of My Life, Christianity Today, January 15, 1988
Looking back, and ahead, straight From Adrian’s cell, early in the morning…
At His Service, at your service,
I Peter 5:14
*One last thing: please don’t forget my friend Mike. Read about him in my last update. God bless you.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 (NASB)