I’m afraid this post is going to be heavy. Want to know what I have been musing about this week? Prison. Yeah. Lockdown. Behind bars. Chained up and the key thrown away. I’m not sure why this strange idea has been mulling around in my brain — but there ya have it. Perhaps because our city is back in lockdown again. Perhaps because our dog is struggling to be crated. Perhaps vegan promotional videos keep popping up on my feeds about animal torture. Perhaps because I’ve been looking at Daniel passages. Whatever the reason, prison has been on my mind.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2015–2016 there were a total of 40,147 adult offenders incarcerated in Canadian federal and provincial prisons on an average day for an incarceration rate of 139 per 100,000 population. That’s a large number of people behind bars. Plus the folks under age, on house arrest, and serving their “time” in some other capacity. I don’t know about you, but it makes me sad. And question. Why? How? Did they all have a fair trial? Where were their mothers? How did life take such a wrong turn?I’m really not politically minded enough to delve into the justice system and all the ins and outs of how incarceration works… or if it works. Yet, it strikes me how sin natured the world is … and how violent or corrupt we can be when left to our own devices.
We’ve watched a few documentaries recently on ways people are gathering evidence about the African slave trade and links to the slave ships that have sunk to the bottom of the ocean… leaving their precious cargo to their unfortunate fates. I wonder how God feels when He sees what we do to each other. He was there when Nero orchestrated feeding the early Christians to the lions for sport. He was there when the slave ships were packed so tight there was inches between humans. He was there with Noah when the world was so bad He felt the need to start over and wipe the slate clean. And He’s here now in the middle of a virus that is killing people around the world. Now, I am not naive enough to think that our world is more “civilized” than in Noah’s day. We haven’t changed all that much. Human trafficking, kidnap, torture. It’s still out there. It may be buried behind closed doors or under the veil of the dollar amounts or hidden in cyberspace, but it’s there. And I am sure it still makes Heaven sad.
Now we can debate about free will, justice, judges and inequities, but opinions run high and frankly, I’m not equipped with enough knowledge to engage in those debates. Nonetheless, I am disappointed when the North American church claims persecution when our “rights” are infringed upon. I’m pretty sure we have no idea what real persecution is. Yes, my beliefs will be challenged, the Bible says so. Yes, I should be prepared to give an account for my faith. Yes, I should research and be aware of government rules and systems that go against my fundamental thinking and belief system. Yes, I should be willing to take a stand. Yet I am called to know my place in society and under the authority of my leaders who were placed there under God’s will. The devil is much more subtle in his ways here, and it is certainly no cause for complacency. But, for the moment, I can share in peace and relative comfort, compared to other believers in other parts of the world.
It’s been a heavy journey through this post. I’m not usually one for such topics, but sometimes you have to be in the darkness to see the light. And I’m sure many a survivor will attest to the fact that God is faithful… and fully just. Holiness is not always a bed of roses. Holiness and being “set apart” often comes with consequences. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are in the midst of the darkness because of their faith, today. Others who are lost in a system of hurt and wrong doings. God is good. And one day (soon!) our faith shall be made sight. Be blessed, my friends!