As some of you may know, I work in prison as a Drug and Alcohol Worker.
It is a tough, but also very rewarding job, as I get to touch many lives (by GOD’s grace and with HIS help) and oftentimes, I really get to help my clients and give them hope or bring them some of their lost self-worth back or help them heal.
I do that by passing on the love of CHRIST, the very love I have received and did not deserve.
However, this job also teaches me so much every day!
Whenever we are helping others, we are literally healing ourselves as well – and on many days after the conversations I have with “my guys”, I ask myself who is truly helping who…
Last week, I learnt something by witnessing one of my clients grow.
He was scheduled for a parole hearing.
This is a very challenging client.
Part of the reason why his behaviour can be challenging is because he is extremely frustrated and this gets triggered when he has to attend an event like his parole hearing, as he believes he has been discriminated against by his probation officer and has been recalled to prison unlawfully.
On a sidenote, I have come to see that nothing is more painful than being in prison and being innocent – it must be so agonizing!!!
And believe it or not, I agree with him!
I believe his probation officer is extremely WICKED.
That’s why I agreed to help him and agreed to come to the hearing with him and also to write him an engagement letter, which went way beyond my remit as his Recovery Worker. I actually put in the letter many things he had said and also that I recommend a fresh start for him with a different probation officer.
However, when we went to the hearing, we had to find out that his probation officer had managed not to do any of his “homework” and the hearing had to be adjourned for another month – of course, which means one more month for my client in prison!
It made MY stomach drop when the chair of the hearing proclaimed their decision to adjourn.
My client was devastated.
But to my surprise – and much to my delight – he managed himself and did not have a fit!
And in the further conversation, the chair gave some very valuable hints – that he would not have been successful with his parole application on this occasion, that some things need to be in place first and when I asked what he would need to see for the next hearing in order to be able to decide in my clients’ favor, he gave specific directions.
AND, the probation officer has been replaced and my client will have a new one from next week.
THIS is all progress.
Even though it also means a delay.
However, the delay is much less than normal, only 1 month instead of 3!
I did my best to convince my client that this is actually a good thing and that it went well.
Especially because he was able to prove that he had changed and had learned to manage his temper!
And this made ME realize that sometimes, delay can be beneficial for us, for our victory.
And I am thinking of some “projects” I have been praying about for YEARS now… there are many, but if I just take one example in my mind, and then compare myself in that area – at the time when I started praying and today….
I have grown and it was so needed that I grow in that area!!!
I wouldn’t have been able to walk in my answered prayer.
I would have failed.
Would not have had the skills, the endurance, the will-power, the self-discipline and the integrity to maintain what I asked GOD for, had HE given it to me at that time.
Just like my client would probably have failed (again) and relapsed, had they let him out earlier and without the support they are now going to put in place for him, including a new probation officer, who will hopefully give him a fair chance and not set him up like the old one.
I came to see that GOD knows everything.
HE knows us better than we know ourselves and only HE can know when we are ready to walk in our calling and in our blessings.
And that delay can be a blessing in itself.
When we are delayed, we are praying, crying out, fasting, training, trying harder…. growing!
This goes for me just as for my client!
I have been working with him for a few weeks now… in fact, I have been allocated his case as he had rejected my colleague as his worker, nobody had volunteered to work with him, so they gave his case to me… I wasn’t happy at all at first, but he won me over in our first session when he told me his story….. injustice always triggers me, and I wanted to help him…. it has been tough and very time consuming, we had to work through a lot of his stuff……but it was heartwarming when he told me he had not received help like this from anyone before, and when I saw how well he conducted himself in the hearing and when others were so surprised about it as well, I knew it had been worth all the hard work!
And I am confident that he will be released next month.
I even believe he could make it outside this time, I believe this could be his last time in prison!
But what this tells me for my story is that we need to be ready for our blessings.
That we need to be whole and healed enough to receive them and not destroy or loose them in an instant.
And GOD knows.
That can be the reason why HE will delay letting us live in our answered prayer(s) and blessing(s).
At least can it be ONE reason for delay.
One thing we need to remember is that HE promised HE will make everything beautiful in HIS time.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
And HE will encourage us.
Send us some angel(s) with strengthening messages.
Send us visions, dreams, little moments of when our answered prayers will shine through… moments of hope…
Send us people who will speak victory and strength and goodness into our life.
Send us signs…
And send us HIS word.
Via our own reading, via messages we watch online or hear in our church…
Via art, music that touches our hearts…
This song is speaking to my heart and reminding me that GOD will make everything beautiful in HIS time…. perhaps you will like it as well?
My friend, have you been delayed by GOD and then later found that it was necessary or even for your good?
Please share your thoughts and stories with us, so that we can be encouraged!
I hope and pray that this will encourage, inspire, bless and heal you.
And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace.
In JESUS’ name I pray!