Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds.; then immediately he and all his family were baptised. Acts 16: 32 – 33

Gordon never felt loved as a child. Always ‘an unwanted child’ he had a difficult relationship with his Mum from an early age. Typically of so many in our prisons, Gordon reacted to this lack of security and emptiness by trying to numb the pain with drugs. The drugs led him to erratic and unpredictable behaviour, and as he fought to find an identity, he became increasingly violent. He had a son but was considered unfit to bring him up; and the court awarded custody to Gordon’s Mum who had already shown poverty of nurture in the upbringing of her own family. Inevitably, Gordon’s downward spiral continued until he received a long sentence for a serious assault that endangered someone’s life.

Remarkably Gordon still had a sense that the nurturing love he had always craved was present in God. And he began to seek him. He found in Christ more than nurturing love. He found redeeming love. A long journey of redemption lay ahead. Acceptance into a residential rehab gave Gordon the opportunity time to reflect on his childhood, his wounds and the wounds he had inflicted on others. Over the months he found himself increasingly looking into the face of Jesus Christ, and finding day after day the love he had always longed for.  Finding security in that love he sought to give love to his Mum as a son, and his son as a Dad. What a joy it was this year to see both his Mum and his son present at Gordon’s baptism! And what a joy it is to regularly see pictures of the three of them eating in restaurants, playing in trampoline centres and going to the cinema together. When the Good News penetrates a life, it impacts more than that life alone. Sometimes whole households are changed. More often, gradually God creates a new reality in the family that heals and restores all that was lost.

Lord God, all those who serve time in prison, belong to a family. They are someone’s son or daughter. They are often someone’s brother or sister, someone’s mum or dad. In you the Fatherless find compassion – strengthen those who long to have their families restored along with themselves.