Faith Column: Let go, let God
David Novak had it made in the shade as the owner and operator of a flight school in the Seattle area. He also served as a contracts manager for Boeing Defense & Space and as regional manager for a telecommunications company. But, the high-rolling lifestyle came to a crashing halt — quite literally — when David staged a small aircraft accident in an attempt to fraudulently obtain insurance money.
David pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve one year plus a day at Eglin Federal Prison Camp, a minimum-security facility near Pensacola, Florida. That certainly didn’t seem so bad. After all, Eglin is still to this day known among the corporate world as Club Fed, with a notorious reputation for being soft on the white-collar criminals who routinely request it as their prison of choice.
Mr. Novak finished paying his debt to the US federal government years and since his release has authored a book based on the journals he kept during his prison experience: “Down Time — A Guide to Federal Prison Incarceration.”
When you arrive at Eglin, your first view is a beautiful, wide-open space devoted to recreation — basketball courts and soccer and softball fields. It almost seems like being at a country club. There are old oak trees with Spanish moss. Aesthetically, it’s gorgeous. There are no fences, barbed wire or guard towers. And, it’s Florida!
You work a 40-hour week in Eglin, but other than that you’re free to do anything else within reason. In fact, that’s one of the biggest challenges for most white-collar types — suddenly having more time than they know what to do with. There’s free access to newspapers and TV. Lots of inmates work out diligently and actually leave prison looking better than when they went in.
But, with all the perks there is one constant reminder that Eglin is not just another southern resort. It’s a yellow line painted around the border of the compound, which every inmate has to stay behind. Of course, if you wanted, you could simply leave — they call it a “walk away.” But, the consequences are swift and severe. You will get caught and then will have to serve and additional 18 months or more in a higher security facility. That’s a pretty strong deterrent.
Strange, isn’t it, how accustomed people can get to their prisons?
Even David Novak says that there are times when he misses the from all responsibility, the recreational facilities and the huge blocks of time to read that he had in Eglin. But, ask him today, now that he has had a taste of real freedom, if he would be willing to go back. The answer? Absolutely not.
Many people spend their lives hiding behind the lie that they free, when actually they are bound! One of the hardest things to do when you love someone is to watch them be bound in a prison that has no walls, but they can’t seem to find a way out. Trust God enough to make a way when there seems to be no way!
In North Africa, trappers have a clever method of capturing monkeys. A gourd is filled with nuts and firmly fastened to a branch of a tree. It has a hole just large enough for the unwary monkey to stick his paw into it. When the hungry animal discovers the scent of food, he will quickly put his hand in the gourd and grasp a handful of nuts, but the hole is too small for him to withdraw his clenched fist. The monkey doesn’t have enough sense to open up his hand and let go in order to escape, so he is easily taken captive. He doesn’t realize that his “liberty” to make a choice has actually stolen his freedom!
As much as you want to help the ones you love get out of their prison, we have to remember it starts with their choice. Sometimes life isn’t fair, but other times we need to let go of what is in our hand. We cannot allow our desires and feelings to keep us captive when God has something bigger for us.
Let go and let God.
Tony BohrerTony BohrerTony Bohrer
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