I recently read an interesting little book entitled Love Does by Bob Goff; it was one of those books that challenged me to put me faith into action because as the title makes plan, the author believe that true love acts.
My favorite chapter is chapter 26, entitled “Jailbreak.” The first sentence captures me. He writes, “I used to think there were some prisons you couldn’t escape, but now I know there’s no place I can go where God’s love can’t rescue us.”
With that lead, he tells an incredible story. It is the story of Goff’s efforts to love kids through pursuing justice in Uganda, a country ravaged by civil war. One consequence of the war “was that justice had been crippled, leaving hundreds of human rights and other cases unheard” (Geoff, Love Does, 140).
As he visited every juvenile jail in the country, he saw countless children rotting in jail on trumped up charges. Most of them, it turns out, had been in jail for 2 or 3 years. At one jail, Goff asked how many of the prisoners had been to court. He was shocked by the warden’s answer. None. The reason: they did not have enough gas money to get them to court. “Why not walk?” he asked. The answer was equally as shocking. “Actually there were no judges to hear the juvenile cases (Goff, Love Does, 141).”
Before long, 72 cases were ready for trial. Shortly after, 72 cases would be resolved, leaving Goff and his friends to deliver 72 kids back to a normal life. And a ministry was born.
They found other jails filled with other kids. They worked in one particularly horrible one where dozens of kids were locked behind a wooden door for years. After a few years of diligent work by some young men from Pepperdine Law School, every case was heard and every child returned home. I love what he writes next:
[W]hen the last kid was dropped off at home after a trial, I had that wooden door ripped off its hinges. It now stands in the corner of my office. It’s a reminder to me that God searches for us, no matter what dark place we’re in or what door we’re behind. He hears our impossible, audacious prayers for ourselves and others. And he delights in forgiving us and then answering those prayers by letting us return home to Him. It reminds me that when we take Jesus up on His promises, He doesn’t just stand in our lives knocking. He rips open our small view of Him and what He can make possible right off the hinges. (Goff, Love Does, 143)
I love the thought of that wooden door in his office. When I read this, I am reminded of the active nature of love that seeks the good of others. God wants to use us, as plain and ordinary as we may be. “He says to ordinary people like me and you that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes God wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him instead” (Goff, Love Does, 143).