We as Christians need to be very careful of the enemy insinuating himself into our affairs, misleading us causing frustration. This is what happened to me.
Early the morning of April 27, 2010 I awakened and could no longer sleep. I had a court appearance and stayed awake and did my daily prayer, Bible reading and meditation. The previous Sabbath, what I believed God was telling me now to never agree to change the plea, indicating I could not absolve the court or prosecutor for their failure to prosecute me and offer them a clean slate to further pursue me. I would also make it clear I would pursue litigation against them in the form of a federal lawsuit because they violated my First Amendment rights. I was so buoyed with this I could not rest. My mind quickly filling with seeing them cowering under my demands insisting some form of monetary payment to make all of this to go away. I “believed” this would provide money to help me to live prior to being able to receive my pension now only less than two years away. I was charged and my thinking was, this would not be the time to back down now. I was going to walk out of here, in days, perhaps even today, and get paid for my stay in their so-called county, “hotel”, and thank you very much.
When I was brought to court, I was immediately sent to the court’s conference room and met an attorney who was my former attorney’s boss. The way he began his presentation only furthered my determination to press forward my issue. I could only see him, too, as being weak wondering why they just don’t admit to either being afraid of the prosecutor or just go and work for them because I could not understand why they did not pursue the defense I could easily see!
After spending several minutes explaining my position, he agreed there had been an error, but it did not facilitate my desire to be able to beat the case, although having a defense, my own statement would have worked against me. Had I gone to the police department in October instead of waiting in January, it might have mitigated some relief, but he did not believe would absolve me of failing to do my duty entirely. Secondly, if I did not willingly change my plea, they were under obligation to issue a plea change recognizing their fault and not need my permission in doing so. This would clear the slate, so-to-speak, and would allow the prosecutor to seek a Grand Jury Indictment against me, this time only pursuing the email charge and not the other two issues, the website which they now knew would not stand or even bring up the issue referencing screen-names, and during trial, all matters prior would not be admitted in trial. The jury would never hear what occurred previously.
What would this have to do with my faith? Wasn’t this just what I should have expected? What’s the point of faith if it is not exercised in these types of situations? I failed to do it before, and now despite what I was hearing from him, would I fail to stand again? I know God gives second chances and often repeat situations if we don’t understand something and I certainly did not want to have a third shot, not knowing what those circumstances would involve especially when I could get it right this time. No, I stood my ground. I told the attorney, I don’t care if they made the application to reverse the plea, to go ahead and do so without my acceptance, because I was going to trial, and I did not want their office to represent me, to hire an outside attorney to handle it and I would further continue a lawsuit against the county for their failure to do it right the first time.
I was returned to the holding cell and called again to return to a conference room where the same gentleman told me the case would be adjourned for the Public Defender’s office to pursue the application, and I would return the following week, May 4.
When I returned to my cell at the jail, I was greatly disturbed in my thinking. This was not the way I planned the proceedings to go. I had even packaged my things leaving a note so the officer who would have to retrieve them while I was waiting downstairs, to go home, would easily identify what I wanted, but instead, I returned to the cell and saw the bag lunch given to inmates who missed a meal because of court consisting of two baloney sandwiches, mustard packages, an apple, two “very” small containers of apple juice, and two cookies! I ate my lunch wondering why it was not a meal of my choosing, back on the streets of life. A needed to pray to find out what went wrong.
Before I left that morning, standing in my window, I heard His voice say, “Watch and see.” What did that mean? I was not experiencing the, “peace which passes all understanding.” I was confused and I personally hate it when I feel this way. I am a teacher and how could I get this wrong? I had been sharing with a few chosen close friends, so how could I be getting this wrong, with all the confirming thoughts, readings, and responses from those I’ve spoken to? I needed direction and I was not getting it, but there was a thought which came across my mind and more than several times, and this was I needed to take “me” out of them. The focus was on “me” and this was skewing everything!
I could not sit, so I stood. I could not get anything while standing and looking out the window, so I sat on my bunk facing a wall, still no answer would come, until a word dropped into my mind, “Where are you?” I had to acknowledge I was in, “jail”. Then God began to reveal what had gone wrong! I then got up to recheck how many days I had been here although I already knew the answer when His voice said, “You have been here 90 days for you to be able to accept what you previously agreed to do before coming here! You agreed to, ‘go to prison’ and where are you?” I was in jail! Jail is not prison although those never having anything to do with the system may see them as being the same thing.
Then God showed me the contradiction I was struggling so adamantly. “You’re trying to, ‘go to trial’ which I did not tell you to do, in order to avoid prison, where you agreed to go!” It was my own idea that having an opportunity to right a previous wrong, about the regrettable five year struggle of not having gone to trial. The fact remain, God had not given me any, “word” as He had done when I first arrived in the prison in Puerto Rico. He’d already stated what He wanted me to do, and although I said I would do it, in fact, I had not been, “willing” and this difficult time I was going through was His way of having me accept what I had agreed to do. No wonder there was no peace. My focus was on me and what I wanted and not what God asked me to do. Then came the thought, no doubt, from the enemy, “how can you explain this reversal to your friends and those new believers from someone who professed to have such a deep relationship with God? What are they go believe when you could not get it right?” And, of course, as with me, the, “Spin Doctor”, I began to seek explanations which would make everyone happy when I had to tell them I was reversing all the energy I proffered as to my belief, is when God settled me and said, “Why not tell the truth and begin with your attorney? He, in fact, was only doing what I had him to do.” Then God showed me how in city court when he’d advised me to reject the prosecutor’s first offer of six months, “jail” and five year’s probation, which resulted her second offer of one year prison and two years parole, was in fact, and He just showed me while writing, He was moving her to do what He wanted in order for Him to get me where He originally asked me to do weeks before the actual arrest! “Would you be willing to go to prison, for Me?” My wanting to shame everyone because of their error, does it not go against Christian principles? Just the previous night, the Bible study was about, “Forgiveness” and what it means. The Bible states in 1 Cor. 13:5 how, “Love does not keep a record of the wrongs done to you,” and here I was attempting to do so, when in all unbelieving truth as some will say later, they were only doing His will even though they have no idea they’re doing it. He’s using them for me!
I spent time composing a letter to my attorney inviting him back to finish this task. It was not his fault. He was being used and my first duty was to let him know this. Of course, I will not tell him the background religious reasonings until much later, either in person if there is time or when this book is published and I gift a copy to him since his role is much greater this time than previously.
Once I “accepted” I was to go to prison, for what? is not my need to know, right now, but in a very interesting way, it also solved some other areas of concern. For one, I don’t see it as a result of punishment as I’m doing this for Him. He wants me to do something and when you’re working for Him, He takes good care of you. Secondly, I don’t have to have that daily struggle wondering how I was going to live, pay my bills and eat. If I should get sick or require dental care, I would be able to get it while incarcerated, and because having been incarcerated, upon release I’d qualify for public assistance to facilitate s smooth re-entry back into society for as long as needed since my unemployment benefits ended and whatever time I am incarcerated only brings me closer to the goal of receiving my pension from IBM, and should I desire, and it be God’s will, I could then leave the country and live in the Philippines leaving all these current troubles behind and live a generous life because of the money which is sitting and waiting for me.
When I woke the following morning, I realized I slept so peacefully, I didn’t hear my door being unlocked for breakfast. I had good dreams and not a mind filled of thoughts regarding my case and imminent trial. I no longer struggled with where I’d go because now I was doing and going where the Lord had asked me in the beginning. “I’m going to prison.”
So fitfully would be the last chapter of the book God had an inmate at the Washington County jail to give me, which He instructed me to read this particular morning when I finished breakfast. It is T.D. Jakes, “Peaks & Valley”, Chapter 12, “It’s Just Your Time”. I’ll quote several passages:
“Generally, somewhere on the other side of a tremendous test is the harvest of your dream.” Pg. 164
“God has put too much training into you to leave you without any area of productivity.” Pg. 168 – (Note: When I considered this, it brought me back to when I was a volunteer chaplain for the New York State Dept. of Corrections for many years, 1975-1985, and how prior to losing my faith shortly after a warden at the Fishkill Correctional facility banned any future service because of a security event I challenged. Interesting how although banned by him some 25 years ago, God now would have another way of getting me inside!)
“He is planted at a specific time in a specific place to accomplish a divine purpose.” Pg. 170.
“What a celebration ought to be going on inside you at this moment. There ought to be a threefold celebration going on in your heart right now. First, you ought to look back over your time of obscurity, when He was plowing and fertilizing you, and thank God that you are still here to attest to His sustaining power. A lesser vessel would not have survived your testimony. Second, look around you at the blessings that you have right now. With a twinkle in your eye and a melody in your heart, thank God for what He is doing even at this moment. Your freshly cultivated ground is full of seeds and unborn potential. Who knows all that God has planted in you? He has begun a work—a good work—in you. Celebrate that every time you wake up in the morning. Look over your straw-covered fields, fan back the birds of doubt and fear, and thank God. Breathe the fresh air into grateful lungs, being glad just to be here. Thirdly, you should celebrate what God is about to do in your life. Your heart ought to be thumping in your chest; your blood ought to be racing like a car engine about to peel rubber! You are about to step into the greatest harvest of your life. The enemy knows you are about to be harvested. That’s why he fought you like he did. He realizes that this is your time. Don’t you? A powerful prophetic move is about to explode over your life. Are you ready for the word of the Lord that was spoken over you to come to pass? Get ready! Hurry, get your mind ready, change your clothes! Put on your shouting shoes! When the news that’s in your spirit gets in your mind, tears of joy will wet the runway for your takeoff. Don’t ever read about anyone else and wish you were him. Don’t ever wish you had lived at any other time. You were created for this moment—and this moment was created for you! Stop reading and look at the clock. Laugh to yourself and praise your God. Do you know what time it is? It’s Your Time!” Pgs, 171, 172.