Stamps From Heaven

February 26th, 2009

I knew a man. He was a criminal. He was in jail. He served time.

We sat for hours over the years as our relationbship grew and he told me stories about his time behind bars. He told tales of horror and tales of hope. He told stories that perhaps should have been left to die a lonely untold death in the aging memory of a dying man. But, he’d spared me nothing and I sat each day to listen, frightened, thrilled and rivited. Many times I felt like I couldn’t hear one more word, but I couldn’t walk away either.

But on one day he told me a story that puzzled me and as I’ve pondered it, I’ve found that there is truth behind what happened, because similar things have happened to me.

When John was taken to jail things didn’t go well for him. Jail can be a harsh cruel place which is just what it should be. Upon his arrival he was placed into solitary confinement and his only contact with the outside world was through letters and a single phone call each week that may or may not happen depending on how the guards were feeling on that particular day. So he wrote.

John wrote so many letters. He needed to reconnect with the outside world and his family. He had hurt them badly and was facing a long time in jail. He was broken and shattered, utterly hopeless and in despair. He was allowed only 5 letters per week which meant that he could only purchase 5 stamps and 5 envelopes, one writing tablet and a small pen made out of soft platic tubing that would bend easily making it impossible to stab someone with but almost impossible to write with as well. Thats it, thats all he could purchase each week.

On Tuesday of this particular week he had run out of stamps and envelopes. He still had many letters to send out that week and no phone call was likely to be had. His commissary items with his new supply of stamps and envelopes was still days away from being delivered. He needed more envelopes and stamps but there was nothing he could do. Desperate and nearing the end of his sanity, he prayed.

John knelt on that cold concrete floor and placed his head on his metal bunk and prayed. He prayed for strength to just make it through another hour. He prayed that the Lord would calm is terrified heart and place a hedge of protection around him. He even prayed for more stamps and envelopes. Hey, the Lord says to come boldly to the Throne of Grace and be specific with the needs and desires of your heart. What did it hurt? He asked it of the Lord and somehow he knew that he had been heard.

John got up and began pacing back and forth in the cell with his eyes cast down in thought. He was calmer. He felt renewed and although time still ticked by in painful seconds, he managed to tolerate each one a little easier for the Lord had indeed heard that prayer and strengthened him. Then, without warning or ceremony, he heard a noise at his solid cell door. He turned to look and saw three envelopes and three stamps laying on his floor. He rushed to the door and looked out the four inch wide pane of glass to see who did this! He strained to see up the small block. As he managed to position his head just right on the far side of the glass, way up the block he saw a guard walking away.

He watched the guard walk away and tears slowly rolled down his face. The guard glanced back over his shoulder and made the “keep quiet” sign by placing his finger to his lips. He just walked away. The Guard didn’t know it but he had just been used by the Lord to bring a man, who many would have cast aside, envelopes and stamps from heaven.

John never forgot what the Lord did for him that day. It had a huge impact on his life and no longer did he take what he saw happening in his life as mere coincidence. He looked for the Lords hand in all things and God revealed Himself more and more. What do you need from the Lord? He’s not a vending machine that you can put a prayer in and get a gift out of. But He loves you and cares for you. You matter to Him and He hears your prayers. Be honest with Him and open your heart to Him. He gave you His Son. He is waiting to hear from you and maybe there are stamps just waiting to be sent from heaven,…… you.

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