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  • Pastor Joshua Lim

i have a dream

Updated: Feb 17

"I have a dream. I dream of freedom... I dream of a new beginning and new hope.

I dream that the chains of Satan will be broken... I dream of uniting with my family and loved ones... I dream that love will never die...

At last, I thought, freedom is mine; the world within me is waking, and the new day has just begun.

However, even before I could taste the sweetness of the water and breathe the air, my dreams are shattered and broken. Now life has killed my dream.

Instead of finding freedom and hope upon release from prison, I find myself entering a 'social and psychological prison.'

You ask, what is my name? I can hardly remember... For some time, I was but a number. It served to remind me of my past and who I was; once a prisoner, always a prisoner; I broke the law and will always be a slave to the law. I have a past and no future. 

People see my present as a shadow of my past, and my future, too, will be so. No matter how hard I try, my past can never be undone. People know nothing about me except my past, and this is how people view me."

"I can only now live in regret. Sometimes I wonder why I have been so careless with my life. Why did I let myself down? Why did I become like a dog on the run and being despised by others? And I often question my own existence and the meaning of life.

Does anyone really understand and care? Do they know the pain, the hurt, the struggle, and the loneliness that I battle? No words, absolutely no words, can express my deepest sorrow. 

Stars in the multitudes, you are the witness of all my pain and hurts. Sweet Jesus, O bright morning star, you perceive my anguish because You walked the same path of suffering. 

How I wish I had never been born... I feel like giving up... I feel rejected and unwanted.... I see no meaning in life..."

Many prisoners dream of starting life afresh. However, upon release from prison, many  find themselves trapped in a social and psychological prison. They find it extremely difficult to fit into society and to renew relationships with their loved ones. They face discrimination and rejection, and many are branded as the "trash of society". These strong forces often cause them to turn back to their old ways.

Do you know that we can help many of them achieve their dreams? 

In Mark 2:1-5, we read of a paralyzed man whose life was dramatically transformed. He would have remained helpless and hopeless if not for the loving act of the men who lowered him down to Jesus through the opening of the roof. These men stepped in to offer help — not just advice, but real, genuine help that cost them time and effort.

I pray that we will do likewise. It is often through experiencing the love of God that many prisoners and ex-prisoners can withstand the strong forces that work against their desire to stay faithful to the Lord. 

According to the late Rev Henry Khoo, former Senior Chaplain of Prison Fellowship, Singapore, when we do what Christ has called us to do, "there is a blessed hope that they (prisoners and ex-prisoners) can be transformed by the Holy Spirit and integrated into society, therefore having a bright future."

How might God be asking you to make yourself available to be His instruments of grace and compassion, to help transform and rebuild broken lives?

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