Saturday, November 3, 2012
The Single Red Pane
My husband and I visited our first male prison a few weeks ago. It was a nice prison, as prisons go, and we had a great visit. The man we visited, Timothy, is a good writer and has several stories in the upcoming prison devotional book, Stories of Faith and Courage from Prison. More importantly, he came to the Lord three days after being arrested. His conversion experience was powerful and sincere. It was a pleasure to meet him and witness his love for the Lord.
Tim teared up twice during our visit; once when we prayed with him before leaving, and the other when my husband asked if he minded if we came back to visit him again. He was humbled almost beyond words.
Tim gave me permission to share a special poem he wrote. It was recently published in our jail ministry newsletter, and is included in the new devotional, too. I think you’ll agree that he has, indeed, been given a gift. (Tim was recently transferred to another facility and is no longer at Lebanon Correctional.)
The Single Red Pane
By Timothy James Burke
It is ironic that in prison, where I have very limited freedom of movement, I should often feel lost. The distractions and temptations inside these walls are every bit as powerful as the ones outside, and staying focused is just as difficult.
In the chapel at Lebanon Correctional, we have all variety of inmates attending the services. Most are there for the right reasons, but some guys use the worship time to talk with their friends from other blocks, pass contraband, or just get out of the confines of their six-by-eleven boxes.
One Sunday, during a service in which I was having a tough time with my feelings and the distractions around me, I looked up and noticed that all of the chapel’s stained-glass panes were yellow, blue, or white – all but one pane. The following poem came through me….
Sunday, each Sunday, I sit in these pews
And listen to preachers dispensing their views.
Doing my best to ignore and deflect
All the talkers around me that won’t show respect…
Trying to tell if the sermon I heard
Matches up with the lessons I learned in the Word.
Trying to quiet my anger and violence
So I can hear Jesus alive in the silence.
Forgive me, God, for my negative mind
For the times when I don’t trust the plan You designed,
For the nights when my faith flies away on a breeze
Cause I’m too weak or stubborn to drop to my knees.
Dear God, my thoughts are full of disease
So I sit in these pews and I pray, “Father, please
Help me to walk on the path of pure light
With my eyes always forward and Jesus in sight.”
Tears wet my cheeks in a lacrimal flood
When I think of the Savior shedding His blood.
I look to the heavens for God to explain
And there…in the stained glass…a single red pane.
“I have not left you, My Word’s never lost;
The blood I gave freely has covered that cost.
That single red pane is there to remind you
Whenever you wander…I can still find you.
The blood that I gave left a permanent stain,
A sign and a promise, My love will remain.”
“… God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
As the Christmas season approaches, may we all keep in our hearts the true reason for the season.
In His Grace Alone,