The son of some dear friends of mine died recently, and they asked me to speak at the service honoring his life. In nearly three decades as a pastor, I was called upon many times to offer words of hope and consolation to families and friends who were grieving. Each situation of grief is unique, but they also have much in common: the shock, the sadness, the profound sense of absence and loss …
I get the same sense whenever I sit with the families of the incarcerated and hear their stories. Especially when the families are surprised by the arrest and conviction, there is a sense that the person they thought they knew is gone – never to return. There is shock, betrayal, and deep hurt, coupled with fear about their loved one’s fate.
But praise be to God, Jesus is the answer for these grieving families and the ones behind bars. Just like 1 Thessalonians 4:13 promises, prisoners’ families don’t need to “grieve like those who have no hope.” Through the Gospel there is hope for everyone affected by crime and incarceration. Christ brings light into darkness, hope into situations of despair, and life where there was only death. Hearts, lives, and communities are restored to the peace, wholeness, and security God intends.
Since God prompted Chuck Colson to start Prison Fellowship Ministries in 1976, we’ve grown into the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners and their families, thanks to the prayers and partnership of many friends like you. To learn how you can be part of this ongoing story of hope and consolation, visit www.prisonfellowship.org.