I enjoy waking up early, packing a picnic breakfast, and driving to a spot where I can watch the sunrise. It’s a favorite pastime because God once revealed Himself in a most powerful way in that early morning sun. It happened during the painful, dark time of my son’s incarceration.

Being a mother of an incarcerated son wasn’t easy. I often encountered dark emotions and cried, “Where are You, God?”

I struggled to understand how He was working. I had so many questions, and with each passing day, I became more self-absorbed and less aware of His presence.

My son was housed in a prison less than an hour from my home. I did my best to visit him every weekend. Each Saturday, I left before dawn to secure a spot at the front of the visitation line so I wouldn’t have to sit in a waiting room and miss precious time with my son.

I don’t remember much about those early morning drives except being entirely absorbed in dreaded anticipation. Visiting my son brought so many varying emotions.

On one hand, I was grateful he was so close. Wrapping my arms around him and seeing that he was alive and well was priceless. But each visit also served as a painful reminder that he was in prison and that there was nothing I could do about it.

Each week, those encounters with prison life led me deeper into a sea of hopelessness. I wrestled against “what if” scenarios. The fear of the unknown was almost too much to bear.

“Where are You, God?” were often the only words I could muster.

God seemed absent, and I felt more distant from Him each time I drove away from the prison. I couldn’t feel His presence or see Him at work. Still, I knew God was my only hope of survival.

During this time, I was reading a daily devotional. One day’s entry spoke about the presence of God in our lives, even during our trials. Specifically, the author unpacked Ecclesiastes 7:13–14 (NLT), which says, “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.”

The author reminded me that the same God who is with me when life is good remains with me through my trials. That week, during my drive to the prison, God further revealed this truth.

I approached the top of a hill and saw the most beautiful sun rising over the horizon. The sky was ablaze with the most magnificent colors and draped with the backdrop of the rolling hills. Time stood still as I gazed at the beautiful scene.

Suddenly, a sense of peace overcame me, and I was no longer sad. As I surveyed the beauty of God’s creation, it hit me—He was present. Evidence of God was all around me.

I experienced Psalm 19:1 powerfully. It says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship” (NLT). How many times had I missed His glorious display during my drives because I was so focused on my pain?

I couldn’t wait to get to prison and share my experience with my son. He, too, needed to know that God was present. He hadn’t left us.

Shortly after that visit, I stumbled upon Luke 1:78–79. “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace” (NLT).

I immediately remembered that morning when God’s tender mercies met me. The rising sun came to me from heaven and broke through the darkness of my heart. God shined His light on me and helped me find my path to peace. He can do the same for you.


Paula Fox loves the Lord and serving His children behind bars. She volunteers her time at Kairos Prison Ministry and Victorious Living.