How was I able to walk into a maximum security situation, as a female, and work alone with thirty-eight or more male inmates wielding knives? Or, how, during all those twenty-four years, was I able to cope, dealing with difficult camp directors, teenage workers, and double shifts? How can we be prepared as the Lord's servants to go into these kinds of situations and get our job done to His glory and still maintain our Christian integrity? How can we continue to do this year after year?
PRAYER! My dear Christian brethren! ROMANS 13:14 "CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST." How can we do that? Consider Psalm 40:1-3: (This is one of my favorite Psalms passages.) "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord." New Living Translation
After a brief quiet time at home, I would head for work. I always put praise music on in my car as I drove to work. This set my spirit in a worship mode. I would sing and worship my Lord as I drove along. Passing folks who saw me may have thought I had gone wacky, but that is OK. :-)
Then I would ask the Lord to guide my walk and talk, and to give me creative ways to share His love as I do my job as unto Him. You would not believe the ways the Lord can use you if you walk through the door "all prayed up" as the saying goes.
Then, how do you maintain this constant attitude of prayer throughout your stressful shift? Ephesians 6:18 "Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere." Also consider Luke 18:1 "One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up."
I can witness to many times how the Lord would stretch food when unexpected people would arrive at mealtime. I have seen instances where a serious burn situation "mysteriously" became a minor inconvenience instead of a serious burn. I have been in the middle of a jail riot and had inmates circle me to protect me from harm. Who put them there? Our Lord! I have had two bobtail Sheriff's food trucks burn up under me. Why was I safe and my load delivered still frozen? The Lord rode with me! I was "all prayed up." I remember many times as a camp cook, leaving the kitchen late at night when the camp is quiet, meeting a bear on the way back to my quarters. I would just thank the Lord, out loud, for sending this nice surprise my way. The bear would hear me and wander off, leaving me in peace.
So, my dear brethren, be encouraged. We work in a very difficult field of employment BUT our Lord is Lord of all and can make this the most wonderful and fruitful ministry you can imagine if you will just depend on Jesus for your strength, wisdom, and protection.
Go in peace, dear ones, my prayers go with you!
Retired Sheriff, Camp, and Prison Cook
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