Seeing Jesus

Have you ever prayed to see Jesus now and on this earth before you are called home? I have and part of the truth is that my faith is weak sometimes. I guess we are limited by our human minds. Or are we? Once I committed myself to pray, I found that I have seen the risen Lord many times over in my life. It’s just that I failed to really look. The prophet Isaiah, while speaking to the Israelites admonished them by saying, “They have eyes, but they are blind” ((Isaiah 43.8).

Two of the most powerful influences in my life have been my marriage and prison experience, both that contributed to my conversion story. I began my career (before marriage) as a correction officer (C.O.) and was a “pagan of sorts” during this period; believing in myself more than a God who I placed somewhere back on the shelf of priorities. My God was the badge I wore proudly each tour of duty, my church was the bar we drank at after our tours finished and my fellow parishioners were the guys I depending on each day to return home safely each day. Then somehow, God snuck His way up to the “front shelf” of my life again and altered it in ways I could never adequately describe to you. In summary, “he used what I was taught to despise and loathe most (the inmate) to convert my heart.” I guess Samuel sums it up the best by saying “Suddenly the spirit of the Lord will take control of you, and you will join in their religious dancing and shouting and will become a different person” (1.Sam.10:6).

That is the essence of my conversion story. Maybe, you also have a similar story to tell? Once He had me, I saw things differently, both on the job and off. I began to see inmates consoling other inmates and some officers who were actively living out their professional titles as “correction” officers; offering guidance and a positive influence to their inmate charges. I began to witness the difficult jobs being done by civilian counselors and chaplains who ministered to the inmates.
But this was always before me. Why had I not seen this before? I also saw my attitude and behavior change dramatically. It was as if God had allowed me to “see with new eyes” (Eph. 5:13).

I married after five or so years after being on the job and God continued His work. My beautiful wife Palma gave me six children and became another opportunity to see life with a remarkable clarity and witness Jesus. As I went off to work and study, Palma did most of the “hands on” raising and caring for the kids. I watched her over the years give to everyone else first and to love unconditionally – something I need to keep working on. So, how far from the mark was I in asking to see Jesus before I die? Obviously, very far! How about you? Where, how and when have you seen Jesus recently; possibly in the simple actions of others (and of yourself) that you failed to really acknowledge? Stay strong and put on your spectacles! Paxvobiscum.

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