Wearing his striped jumpsuit, James walked across the steamy jail gym and climbed into the portable pool where he was baptized by the prison chaplain. James’ joy multiplied, however, when he heard that his daughter Brittany—also an inmate—had been baptized that same day . . . in the same water! When they realized what had happened, even the staff got emotional. “There wasn’t a dry eye,” the chaplain said. In and out of jail for years, Brittany and her dad both wanted God’s forgiveness. And together, God gave them new life.
Scripture describes another prison encounter—this time with a jailer—where Jesus’ love transformed an entire family. After a “violent earthquake” shook the prison and “the prison doors flew open,” Paul and Silas didn’t run but remained in their cell (Acts 16:26–28). The jailer, overcome with gratitude that they didn’t flee, took them to his house and eventually asked that life-changing question: “What must I do to be saved?” (v. 30)
“Believe in the Lord Jesus,” they answered, “you and your household” (v. 31). The response reveals God’s desire to pour out mercy on not only individuals but also entire families. Encountering God’s love, they all came “to believe in God—[the jailer] and his whole household” (v. 34). Though we’re often eager for the salvation of those we love, we can trust that God loves them even more than we do. He desires to renew all of us, our whole house.