He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thess. 1:8)

Ministering in a jail presents many challenges. You must be cleared with a background check. The facility must know the nature of any materials you use for the support group you’re leading. Every action is recorded on cameras. To ensure your safety, guards escort you to the meeting room. The experience, while a blessing, requires prayer and faith that the Holy Spirit will work through you.

The biggest challenge we faced with the group was keeping order among women who were expected to attend. They were a captive audience. Grateful for those who wanted to hear about Jesus, we answered questions and included Christ when sharing our stories. Sometimes, we’d see affirming nods from them. They recognized how God changes lives, and some willingly confessed the reason for their incarcerations. But we also dealt with women who laughed and jeered, asking questions they knew would cause controversy.

God reminds us that insults and persecution come because of his name. He confronted Saul by saying, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.” Persecution of Christians affects Jesus, too. We should care about that. We don’t like to think about God punishing anyone. So, recognizing how we were saved by God’s grace, we fervently pray for others. Living obediently and trusting God’s power, we remember that eventually he makes all things right.

Remember how God saved you—and pray for the lost and broken.

Paula Geister lives in Michigan and writes Bible studies for her church. She enjoys reading and watching her rabbit jump around the house.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.