John Steward of Jesus
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What Jail is Like

February 24, 1993

As I spend my time in jail, waiting for a future "court appearance", I believe that my primary calling is to wait patiently for the Lord to work--to keep my body and my spirit in a state of readiness to hear from the Lord and to do his will.

There are many circumstantial factors which would seem to work against this state of readiness--the municipal drinking water, typical American food; air that is constantly polluted with cigarette smoke; hours of unedifying sound from the television set in the cell block, accompanied by the frequently foolish and sometimes ungodly talk from other inmates, all bouncing around in this steel-and-concrete echo chamber; a visual environment of steel and concrete bars and walls in gray and beige with men in orange jail clothes and no furniture except steel beds, a stainless steel bench and table, stainless steel sink-toilets (which flush with a loud roar), and a steel shower stall, all securely mounted in place; a total absence of sunlight, five 5x8 dimly lit cells, a 6X28 day area with bright fluorescent lights; four permanently mounted video cameras for remote monitoring, male and female guards monitoring every detail of daily life; the regular jingling of heavy metal keys and the banging of heavy steel doors; hard beds, and thin mattresses.

In such an environment the challenge is to maintain peace of mind, the peace that passes understanding, while being available to speak God's word as occasions arise.  I praise God that his grace is sufficient for the challenge.  But I do not feel led to undertake any projects of study or writing other than those which are part of my constant spiritual walk.  Sometimes victory is nothing more than standing our ground and not being overcome by our enemy.  God brings other victories in his own time.