Approximately 80% of the boys and girls who come into the jail had an event in their lives that wrecked them. Many do not realize the impact this trauma has caused them. They do things to cope with the pain and it usually involves drugs and wild behaviors as they try to seek love and approval from others.
I’ve known Alan for about four years now. When I first met him, some of the ACJC staff informed me he had a really bad temper and was depressed. Sure enough, when I first met him, he wanted to fight everybody and he seemed so sad. But there is also a side of him that was very likable, and I wanted him to know Jesus.
As I got to know Alan, I found out some of the reasons why he acted like he did. He’d had some wild and traumatic experiences in his life that have moved him toward hatred, pain, and brokenness. As a result, he’s done some really stupid things and acted out in ways which have caused the crimes and punishment to increase. Over the years we’ve had many conversations that have begun to move him toward God and a new way of living. I prayed for a softening of his heart and an attentive ear for God and it’s beginning to show. I’ve encouraged him time and time again that he needs to give his pain and his hurt over to Jesus. All the drugs and hatred in the world can’t compare to the peace God can give. I recently gave him this verse:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Jesus
Alan is slowly letting God into his life and slowly letting go of the world. Jesus is changing him! This is also the message we continue to give the teens who are locked up. They have no other escape from their pain and torment than to give it over into the capable hands of Jesus. That promise is true for us as well. So go find rest in the arms of Jesus today, as Alan is also learning to do the same; pray for him while you’re at it.
Juvenile Justice Director