Jahar has so much weighing on him right now that it’s difficult to even fathom what he must be going through. Troubles: He’s got plenty of those. He’s likely in prison for the rest of his life. He’s lost his friends…..his freedom…..his future. Tears: When Jahar woke up in the hospital, the media reported that he cried for days. I can’t imagine that much has changed, living in solitary confinement daily. Failure: While I don’t know if Jahar feels like a failure because of what he did, I am sure he feels like a failure for a whole host of reasons. Fear: I imagine with the possibility of the death penalty staring you in the face, you might be pretty scared. Scared of death…..of what that might feel like, of all of the botched executions happening, of what awaits him after death. Or maybe even scared of NOT receiving the death penalty and of having to live his entire life in prison. Scared of other inmates……of guards……of whatever he faces in that prison. Scared of what the future holds. When Jahar considers coming to Christ – he may feel fear surrounding the reaction of his family and if he will lose them. Heartache: I imagine his heart hurts for so many reasons………at the loss of his brother……at possibly never getting to see his parents again…….at missing his nieces and nephews. I pray that one day his heart aches when he thinks about the lives he took and the pain he caused so many people. Pain: Physical pain from his injuries that night in the boat. Emotional pain caused by the torture of solitary confinement. Burdens: I imagine Jahar is feeling pretty burdened right now……….and I pray that even worsens as he realizes the full magnitude of what he did. Shame: I don’t know if he’s feeling any of that right now…..but I trust that one day he will.
As someone God has called to pray Jahar into His kingdom, I often find myself reflecting on all of that and almost physically feeling some of that myself. It can be disheartening to feel all of that trouble, heartache, and pain. I’m just downright scared for him sometimes. Once in a while, it moves me to tears. The worst part is knowing that anything I feel is only the tiniest fraction of what Jahar is feeling. Does he deserve it? Yeah, I guess he does. But then again, we are all sinners who, without Christ, deserve to feel all of that. The good news is that we don’t have to, and neither does Jahar.
Jesus is light in the darkest places. If there is hope should oceans rise and mountains fall, there is certainly hope for the worst sinners. He bears the scars of our freedom – He suffered and died so that His people, even people like Jahar – can be truly free despite their earthly circumstances. We don’t need to be afraid for Jahar, because God has a plan for him – and in His name, all our fears are swept away.
God is our hope….our love…..our healer….and our freedom. Without Jesus, Jahar is hopeless…..practically loveless…..in pain…..and bound. But I can’t help but smile when I think that with Him……despite living in the worst of circumstances…..Jahar can be completely healed…..full of love, hope, and joy…..and completely free, even in prison.
Take heart, my brothers and sisters. He has overcome the failures, fears, heartaches, pain, burdens, and shame of the entire world. He can certainly overcome Jahar’s.