As I write this, it is a beautiful day in central Indiana. The sun is shining, birds are singing and at least for now, it seems that winter has been kicked to the curb. For most of us, this is a blessed season.
Every year, Easter unfolds and plants and trees have leaves and blooms again. We as Christians celebrate that our God is a God of new beginnings. This is one of my favorite things about God. He demonstrates His love and goodness by offering us new life from season to season.
I am so thankful that “His mercies are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23).
Recently I went to the New Castle Correctional Facility to visit my friend Greg.
Over the past six years or so, I have been blessed to get to know this man. Greg’s life could be described as a long winter. He has spent the vast majority of his life locked up. His crimes were many, and he would be the first to say he deserves the 50-year sentence he received.
In the prison, something profound happened to Greg. God broke his heart and saved his soul. The God of new life and second chances showed up in amazing ways. While his circumstances remained bleak like a dreary winter season, his soul emerged into the springtime of life.
With few people in his life to help him grow, the Holy Spirit became His companion. He immersed himself in the study of God’s Word and prayer. The results have been life-changing.
As we met recently, he shared good news that due to his good behavior and working to earn some credits, his release date has been moved up to the summer of 2024. After more that 20 years incarcerated, God has not only changed his present, but He has changed his future. What an amazing God!
As Greg and I celebrated his upcoming freedom, he remarked. “It’s strange that the freedom found in Jesus Christ is available to me even in this prison. God is able to release the captives. But I cannot believe that there is coming a day in the future when I will, for the first time in my life, walk free both in Christ and in the world.”
Greg has asked that when he gets out next year if I would be willing to pick him up and take him out for a cheeseburger. I am so looking forward to that day.
In the aftermath of my visit with Greg, I have been thinking about my life and the lives of so many around me. Our winters have not been nearly as harsh as Greg’s. And our blessings have often made us walk unaware of the amazing goodness of God. We simply become immune to the blessed life we have been given.
This spring, I want to challenge you to walk in gratitude whatever your circumstance.
Yes, seasons of winter come. But, because of God’s great love, they do not last forever. Praise God! Amen.
Mark Adcock is pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to [email protected].