Why I praise God that kids are in jail

Posted on by Hannah Lunstrum

By Suzan Frank, Juvenile Justice Chaplain

Juvenile Jail is a dark place. Not in a literal sense, the facility is clean and spacious, offering school and counseling from caring adults. Yet it is still a place where kids are locked up from the outside world, denied their freedom. Some are there to be protected from hurting themselves, others because they have nowhere else to go and yes, some are there be kept from hurting others. There are kids there who have done horrible things and many who have had horrible things done to them. 

The darkness there is spiritual. I face it weekly when I visit kids in jail as a chaplain for YFC’s Juvenile Justice Ministry, yet there is also light and hope. God is present in our jails. 

I have been working with “Benjamin” in detention for several months. He told me about a moment after his second month where he was awakened in the night. He sat on the side of his bed and prayed to the Lord, committing his life to Jesus. He said his life has been different ever since then. He has been visiting with chaplains weekly and attending all the church services available. He studies the Bible with hunger and he is learning from it. He was kidding around with a fellow inmate during school and the teacher told them to stop. He didn’t want to stop but he remembered Proverb 9:8; “Rebuke a fool and he will hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you,” so he stopped. The friend continued and got in trouble.

Benjamin has been growing deeper in his walk with Jesus, now confident he is destined to be a preacher. Revelations are coming to him frequently and his study of Proverbs has been very useful, as he is gradually repenting of old ways. Instead of fighting with other youth in jail like he used to, he now prays for them and the difficulties they are facing.

I praise God each week that Benjamin is in jail! Not because he is locked up, but because God is working in this dark period of his life and I know God will work all of this time together for Benjamin’s good. When kids are living on the streets, using drugs, hanging out with gangs, drug lords, other addicts, committing crimes and lost in a downward spiral leading to every form of death, Yes! I'm grateful they are in a safe place, getting cleaned up, sober and with ample time to think about their lives. 

I believe God will use even our meager attempts to change the atmosphere of this present darkness. Our movement to shift the status quo by entering this spiritual battle with our praises and prayer over the youths of the county will weaken the powers of darkness.

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.

Isaiah 61:4

There is much work to be done, so whether we are together in flesh or in spirit, let us maintain a united front to set the captives free! Our prayers in Jesus’ Mighty Name are breaking strongholds and bringing freedom from drugs, gangs, strife in families and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.

Rejoice always - Pray without ceasing - In everything give thanks

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