The page was still blank. Words just wouldn’t flow from his pen. Nathan finally set the quill pen aside. Some of the disciples and Christian believers had already documented their life experiences, one more testimony wasn’t needed. His job, his passion, his calling was to preach the Good News. He didn’t have time to spend scribbling out his personal experiences. Nathan started to stand, when a sudden pound on the door reverberated through the room.
“Open up in the name of the Caesar!” a gruff voice roared from outside. Nathan hurried to the door and unlatched it. Five Roman soldiers, each with a sword in hand, swarmed in and surrounded Nathan.
The leader pointed a finger at Nathan as he declared, “You are under arrest for spreading lies throughout the city!”
This wasn’t the first time Nathan had been taken into custody, so he wasn’t too concerned. God still had work for him to do, so Nathan doubted he’d be in custody for more than a few days. Then he would be freed and could continue his work spreading the Gospel.
The days turned to weeks, and Nathan still was in prison. He waited in the cold of the dungeon for God to work a miracle. Like God had done for Paul and Silas. Surely God still had a plan for Nathan. More lives for Nathan to touch.
Weeks turned into months, still nothing changed. A few scraps of food. Some water. No news about his coming release. “God never forgets His sheep.” Nathan murmured to himself as he scratched out another line on the wall. Fifty-four lines now. Did God ever miscount his sheep? It would be easy to look down from heaven at the multitude of Christians and not notice the one trapped in a dark cell.
Day after day, Nathan woke to the same emptiness. He prayed to God often, but it seemed that his words were bouncing off the wall. Trapped with him in this dark, lonely, room. Was God too busy with other, more spectacular, things that He didn’t have time to take care of one little ensnared lamb? He told himself over and over again that he trusted God’s timing, trying to ignore his feelings of doubt and confusion. Why was God remaining silent? Had God forsaken him because of Nathan’s lack of faith?
Question after question came into Nathan’s mind. Questions he had no answers for. He thought back to the times when he was doing God’s will. Things had been hard then too, but Nathan had never felt as alone then as he did in this dark and dreary place. Memories flooded into his mind. Memories of all the miraculous things he’d witnessed, and the signs he’d performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He felt an overwhelming urge to document what he could remember about his life of ministry.
He scurried over to the barred doors, calling to the jailer, “Sir, may I please have some paper and ink? I wish to write some things down before they fade from memory.”
The jailor seemed a little doubtful at first, but after some consideration he consented. The jailor gave Nathan an inkwell, some paper, and even a lit candle. Nathan thanked the man as he eagerly accepted the items. God really was watching over him, even in this dark place. And now it wasn’t so dark anymore.
He wrote fervently, spending his days writing, crossing out, and throwing papers away. Every few days Nathan had to ask for more papers to write on. Soon Nathan had written so many papers he couldn’t find a safe place to store them all where the dampness wouldn’t ruin them.
After two years of imprisonment, Nathan was finally released. By then he’d written over seven hundred pages worth of memories, poetry, thoughts, and insights. His words were read by thousands of people over the years, all of whom were touched by his words.
Even after Nathan’s death, his words still changed lives. But as the centuries passed, the pages wore away with age and use. Nathan’s words were lost to the world, but not before they had impacted it.
More people had been touched by Nathan’s written words than in all the words he’d preached in a life-time of ministry. Thousands came to Christ because Nathan, in that dark and lonely prison, had been given time to use his God-given passion to write.
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