We Have Hope

“Getting Ready for Christmas.” Read Luke 1:39-66.

Last year I had the wonderful privilege of participating in the Angola Revival at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. Angola is one of the largest prisons in both acreage and the number of inmates.

Until a few years ago it was known as one of the most awful prisons in the country. It was a place of extreme violence and hopelessness. Because of Warden Burl Cain and helpful state administrations, it is now known as a model for prisons all over the country. The violence and recidivism rate has gone down and the sense of hope has gone up. Now inmates minister to inmates with the hope of Christ.

When I preached at Angola, I preached in a prison chapel where men (it’s a male prison) hear the gospel and praise a forgiving God. Right next to the pulpit in the main prison chapel is the organ owned by the late George Beverly Shea, “America’s beloved Gospel Singer.”

George Beverly Shea, Cliff Barrows, and Billy Graham made up the “face” of the Billy Graham Gospel crusades. On his 100th birthday, Mr. Shea donated the organ to Angola Penitentiary. I don’t know how the inmates felt about it, but I felt a profound sense of awe to think that George Beverly Shea had played this musical instrument and donated it with a sense of hope for downtrodden mankind.

Christmas is about hope in the midst of despair; it is about blessing in the midst of sorrow. The gift of George Beverly Shea is a symbol of the belief that God is at work and that people without hope have a hope and a future because of the gift of God.

Let us live in the hope that comes because of Christ.

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One Response

  1. I was pleased to hear Warden Cain speak when he was at FBCC a few years ago. I was also glad to get his book and have a brief conversation with him. It may be noteworthy, when Warden Cane stared his “Redemption” movement Edwin Edwards was Governor of Louisiana. I seem to recall as a young man, perhaps before becoming a lawyer, that he became a licensed minister in his home parish. Perhaps someone can confirm. In any case, Warden Burl Cain had some interesting observations about his relationship with the Governor.

    Yes we have Hope. See the Wonderment in what God Can Do and Has Done! All the world is His, even as the “prince of darkness” has a domain in it. Romans 12:4&5 Works when His Glorify Him as Designed.

    Thank you for then and now!


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