Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: Preacher Bob
By Sherry Hoffcastel
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Guard Morgan fumbled with his keys as he unlocked the door to my cell.
“You have thirty minutes.”
“Thank you, Sir.” I always appreciated it when they called me by my name instead of by my assigned number. That meant that they liked me and I could have a little leeway with my visitor. Thirty minutes didn’t necessarily mean thirty minutes when the guard in charge was also a believer.
I approached the double paned window and greeted my new friend, a pretty blonde. I had never seen her before and was curious, to say the least.
“Hello, I’m Bob. What can I do for you today?”
If she was nervous, she hid it well. Her big brown eyes looked right back into my own without the faintest sign of fear or intimidation. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think she trusted me.
“Well, I guess I should start with an introduction. Sorry, I’m a little new at this.”
I saw a glimmer of a smile.
“My name is Barbara Murphy and I work for ‘The Modern Christian Man.’ It’s a magazine.” She produced a hefty notebook and set it on the counter in front of her. I noticed a pink pen dangling from around her neck.
“Yes, I’ve heard of it. In fact, I read it often.”
“I see. So you are familiar with us? Well, the reason I’m here is because I’d like to write a story about you.”
“You want to write a story about me? Why?”
“Well it seems you’ve started some kind of epidemic. Every time one of your fellow inmates gets saved, they spread it to the outside world. You have no idea how many lives you’ve touched. I was hoping I could interview you and get the whole truth.”
“Is that so? Well this is a surprise.” I stroked my beard, lost in thought. How many lives had I touched? How many people had become saved since that fateful day when I joined the ranks of the convicted murderers in San Quentin State Prison? My mind went back to the day it all began. I allowed the tears to flow as I remembered how it all started.
“I went into the Quick Mart for a carton of milk and some eggs. I was also supposed to remember to bring home a cookie for my little Gracie. Two thugs came up from behind me and robbed me at gunpoint. I overpowered the smaller one and confiscated his gun. Before I knew what had happened two men were dead and I was being driven away in hand cuffs. The next few weeks were a blur. I was convicted of a double murder, the judge clearly not buying my plea of self defense. My sentence was thirty years, fifteen for each life I had taken.
I met a man named Jim who led me to Christ shortly thereafter. The way he explained the scriptures, there really was no other option. I was a sinner in need of forgiveness. I became a believer and worked under the tutelage of my new mentor. He walked me all the way down the Roman Road, and then onto Paul’s message of joy in the face of trials. Now, Paul was a man I could relate to! Like him, I had been wrongly accused and imprisoned. Nevertheless, here I was and as yet, had no idea what was next. If God worked all things for the good, where was the good in any of this? I would soon find out.
As my faith in God increased, so did my spiritual gifts. I began leading others just like me out of the darkness and into the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Suddenly I knew what my purpose was, and why I was here. I was sent to this prison to preach the Good News of the Lord! I’ve made my peace with the choices I made and the bad decision that has led me here. I wish with all my heart that I could take back that night and bring those two men back. They didn’t deserve to die and go to hell. Yet, I understand that God’s ways are higher than my own. Who am I to question Him? I am serving God and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity.”
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 KJV)
This story is based on actual events. “Preacher Bob” is still serving his thirty year sentence where he continues to lead other inmates to the Lord on a regular basis.
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