I have a close friend who spent 17 years behind bars at San Quentin Federal Penitentiary.
Michael spent the first 9 years in prison as a gang member for two reasons. First he was an extremely angry man who would kill someone simply because he felt like it. Second, he was afraid for his life and would hide from the other inmates whenever possible. This led to Michael feeling very lonely.
Michael will tell you that those first nine years in prison were the hardest and loneliest years of his entire life. He would sit in his cell fuming with rage for any inmate that was different from himself. The truth was, Michael felt completely alone. Michael told me of many lonely days and nights screaming and filling his pillow with tears. His fear and isolation was mounting, as he knew that no one would rescue him from his life sentence.
On the tenth year of his life sentence and through a series of events and the drawing of the Holy Spirit, Michael met his Savior and closest friend, Jesus Christ. Almost immediately Michael said that he no longer felt afraid and most of all, he never felt alone. He knew that his creator was with him and that God would never abandon him. Michael will tell you that one of his life verses in the scriptures is:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (leave you alone). Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8 NIV)
After 17 years in prison, God moved dynamically on Michael’s behalf and he was released from a life sentence. Some 15 years later, Michael is leading former inmates into the arms of God who will never leave them. Michael has become a transformed champion of the grace of God.
God will never leave you alone, nor will He give up on you. Therefore, you can “live lighter today”.