Sometimes we are tempted to view certain individuals around us as “lost causes,” too far gone or too hardened to ever be reached by the gospel. Charlie* was such a man. Hearing how his life has played out, one would be tempted to think that there was no hope for him. He was a drunk and suffered from depression. Occasionally, he would explode into a fit of angry violence. And he was serving a long, long sentence in a maximum security prison for a double murder. Can there be hope for such a man?
Charlie’s story began with his father Malcolm. At an early age, Malcolm was exposed to the Bible and believed its simple message as a child. But life quickly choked out his fledgling faith and he never developed a walk with the Lord. As an adult, he became addicted to alcohol. Eventually, his marriage fell apart and he became estranged from his children. Charlie was so ashamed of his father that he even changed his name.
Years later, Malcolm became involved in a Bible study where The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus Videobook was being watched. As a result, he came back to the Lord and began a much-delayed journey of walking with his Saviour.
But for Charlie, he remained alienated from his father. His life took a difficult route. Like his father before him, Charlie struggled with alchohol and was abusive in his relationships. One day, in a fit of rage, he committed murder while intoxicated. Charlie was arrested for his crimes and the court sentenced him to a long prison term.
It was through this horrific situation that Charlie was reunited with his father. Malcolm longed to give his son the same hope he had received. He wanted to give Charlie a copy of The Stranger but the prison authorities would not allow it. They did, however, allow Charlie to order a copy online. He read through the book, allowing the Bible to speak for itself. And God worked a miracle for, as he finished reading it, Charlie put his trust in Christ for salvation. He was now a believer. He could now stop wallowing in the past and look ahead to the future with hope.
Shortly after, Charlie was moved to a maximum security prison, where he found out that the chaplain was using The Stranger to lead a Bible study. He was amazed and thrilled. He grew in his faith and it wasn’t too long before he signed up for a theology class while in prison. Since then, Charlie has continued to grow in his walk with the Lord.
Though his journey through life has been filled with storms and littered with bad choices, Charlie was not beyond the reach of the loving God of Bible. His story is a blessed reminder that God’s Word is powerful, able to reach to the uttermost. What’s more, his father Malcolm has given copies of The Stranger to his estranged wife and Charlie’s brother. Both are reading the book and expressing interest in what they are learning. We pray that God would give them understanding and belief. We know that he is a God of grace and mercy, who desires to welcome any person as his son or daughter.
(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)
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