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Thursday, October 7, 2010
The Lord Told Me to Minister To These Women
Ah, the sweet smell of failure. How many times must I crash and burn in my life? How many times must I feel like I am a complete and utter failure? I don’t have an answer to these crazy questions. But I believe that we all ask them at one time or another. Everybody fails at something. But I think that the key to ultimate success is perseverance. And that includes persevering at loving and supporting relationships. Not giving up on someone tells that person how much you care about them. And I believe that will lead to success in the end.
I have a dear friend named Anna who is a prison minister. She is a woman of a certain age. Every Sunday she goes to the local county jail and leads worship with the women who are incarcerated. She visits them at least once during the week. She brings gifts and special things at the holidays. She even celebrates Christmas in July with them. She works hard and takes good care of people who are in desperate need. One would think that people would see the good in doing this type of work. No way.
When Anna first started she received what she understood as a clear call from God to reach out to these poor needy people in the prison. At the time there were only a handful of women in trouble. A local priest was coming around for communion but no one was spending much time ministering to their needs. Anna walked into the warden’s office and told him of her vision. She was thrown out. She stopped in again and was thrown out again. Now Anna is an older woman and retired. She isn’t very tall or imposing. But when Anna gets something in her head you just can’t move her. If she believes that God wants her to do something – come hell or high water – nothing is going to stop her. So Anna told me that she went to the front doors of the prison every day for what seemed like an eternity telling them, “The Lord told me to minister to these women”. She did this until they finally – grudgingly let her in. At first the guards didn’t like her and made life miserable, but she persisted and slowly some of the guards started to treat her well. She just wore them down. Now Anna has a thriving ministry at the prison. Many people are helped through her work.
Being unwilling to give up is a sacrifice. It means that we have a desire to continue suffering in order to see us through to our goals. Giving up is easy, we don’t have to suffer through the pain of failure anymore. Someone tells us to go away, we go away and we try to forget it happened. But to come back time and again requires emotional sacrifice. Anna was refused time and again and must have suffered greatly from the rejection. But she didn’t give up and because of this many people have been helped by her ministry. Even as I write this book I know that I will be rejected over and over by publishers. But I will persevere because I believe that I can be of some help to people. Serve people and never give up.