This came in the most recent letter …
I believe baptism comes in several forms. Through the Bible we hear, read, of baptism by water. It’s the symbolic washing away of sins and the death to sin of the old self and birth to righteousness of a new self. It is by its very nature a cleansing and a leaving behind. I’ve come to understand though that what we read in the bible is symbolic of something bigger and that there is at least one other type of baptism.
Baptism by Fire.
It’s a sad and unfortunate thing that I had to come to prison to experience it because I think it’s an experience everyone should have. So what does it consist of and why should all experience it?
It consists of having everything stripped from you so that only you, and you alone come out the other side. I lost everything – career, material items, contact daily with loved ones, hopes, dreams, goals, the future I’d planned, my clothing – I literally stood naked. I was forcibly washed of all earthly things. I died to all sin out there and came up into that fire naked and unknowing of what the future would be.
I think of how the Apostles and Israelites must have felt when told to give up everything or have it taken away.
How many questions they must have had:
“Who am I?”
“What am I worth?”
“What will become of me?”
Isn’t it amazing though that all of them also came out with the same bit of direction – the very direction I was left with?
To follow God.
I feel that God said, “If you won’t come willingly then I’ll take you forcibly but you must be cleaned, purged, washed first.”
I know I felt like a washcloth wrung of all water and laid aside to dry. Everything but my essence was gone – or was it? No, what was left was my purpose. Like that cloth still damp, still fulfilling its purpose of sopping and holding moisture I was left with the Holy Spirit and purpose.
So why do I think everyone should experience this loss? To KNOW there’s a life without sin and pain or anchors or fear waiting for them. You can go willingly or forcibly. Go willingly and lose only the negative, those things holding you down or back. Don’t wait, as I did, for the force – the fire – because you’ll lose the good with the bad. Either way, you’ll be cleansed and left with purpose, God’s purpose and in the end that is all that matters anyway. It’s what the Bible says and now I know it to be true – just as the Apostles and the Israelites learned.
And if you’re already in a prison – mental illness, addiction, abusive relationship – it can be the first step out before, like me, your first step in.