Every now and then, for any one of several reasons, Wisconsin’s prisons impose a lockdown.
As the term implies, all inmates are locked in their room for a period of time which may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. When this happens, work responsibilities and all activities, including Bible studies and worship services, are put on hold. In addition, all visits, both regular and pastoral, are suspended for the duration of the lockdown.
Robert is a WELS member who has been incarcerated for more than 25 years. When I visited and communed Robert recently, the prison in which Robert is incarcerated had just ended a lockdown. Robert told me that he had experienced dozens of lockdowns during his years in prison. He admitted that lockdowns have become difficult for him, especially because he doesn’t have drugs or any other contraband, which are sometimes the reason for these lockdowns. However, he also recognizes that lockdowns are necessary because some inmates are in possession of contraband items, especially drugs.
Robert then said something that made me smile. He told me that he is very thankful that Jesus has rescued him from the lockdown of hell. I quickly agreed with Robert and joined him in thanking God for the faith which lives and grows in his heart, and mine too, through the work of the Holy Spirit who also carries on the same work in the heart of every believer in Jesus! Robert knows and believes that because of Jesus he will live eternally in heaven!
There will certainly come a day when I no longer have the privilege of sharing God’s Word with Robert and other men and women in Wisconsin’s prisons. But by God’s grace, I will see Robert in heaven because Jesus has rescued both of us from the eternal lockdown of hell.