by Jimmy Cochran, SE Regional Director
God calls us all……..whether working with Iraqi refugees in Lebanon, sharing the gospel with the homeless, or serving in the mission field of the secular workplace. But when God called me to the Saints Prison Ministry full-time, I discovered that no matter the calling, when we put our “Yes” on the table, we never truly know the refining and the pruning the Lord is going to put us through. You might have a conversation like mine with the Lord:
“Are you ready Jimmy?” Yes, Lord! “Will you serve Me, Jimmy?” Yes, Lord. “Will you give Me all of you?” Yes, Lord. But what if I fail? I don’t know what I am doing. I’m just me, I am nobody special. You know my faults and but you also know my heart. I can’t do this on my own. This has to be all You, Lord. “I know Jimmy … now you are ready to begin.”
Saying yes, well, that is almost the easiest part. What happens after that……OUCH. It made me realize that if it was easy, everyone would do it! My two years as the Southeast Regional Director have been the most amazing, blessed, beautiful and at the same time, difficult two years of my personal and spiritual life. Would I trade it for anything in the world? Absolutely not. The easiest comparison for me to draw on is the last 10 years with our daughter Megan. As a father of a terminally ill child, I have been presented with tough challenges. However, my walk with the Lord has been strengthened, most notably through the stumbles. Would I trade it to have an easier lifestyle? Absolutely NOT!
In the same capacity, God’s call on my life has seen many instances of His hand being ever-present over me, my family and the ministry. I have seen desperate prayers answered on and off the field, I have watched God take over and carry me through the fire over and over again. I have praised Him in the midst of the storm and fell to my knees when I was too weak to stand. I have had times that I felt completely unqualified and unworthy to take such a role. I went from doing a secular job I knew very well to a path where I knew less than I thought I did. That has been a huge challenge for me. The Lord has shown me several things, the most important of which was fully surrendering to Him and allowing Him to work in and through me. He was there to remind me that His grace is sufficient and in my weakness, He is strong. Despite my shortcomings, He still wants to use me! He has given me the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
I can honestly say it amazes me that God has allowed this simple Georgia man, who still has so much to learn, to be a part of something so Kingdom-minded as the Saints Prison Ministry. My Pastor preached recently about being “Much More.” He said “If God sent His Son to die for us only to save us and that’s it, then He would have just taken us home as soon as we got saved. But instead He has so much more for us.” I am so thankful that I answered the call to my “Much More” as the Southeast Regional Director of the Saints Prison Ministry.