The two letters on my desk are filled with encouragement, good news and evidence of a bright outlook, but they have come from a dark place, a Florida prison.
I’m not sure how this now positive prison inmate found my address, but she wrote to request any faith-building resources I could send her.
Along with other materials, I chose to send my book, “You Can Win,” which is intended to meet troubled people where they are, assuring them they are important to God and he can enable them to overcome the most difficult of problems.
When another letter arrived from this prisoner, I sensed the bright excitement of faith running through every line.
My convict correspondent reported she and her cell mate have started a devotional group in the prison as well as a faith-based weight-loss and exercise program. In addition, she has influenced other women in the prison to become involved in a nightly prayer circle, adding, “Great things are happening.”
In her moving tract, “Delivered from Alcohol,” our friend, Karen Murphy, says her dependence on alcohol eventually became so great that she began writing bad checks to keep up with her expenses. As a result she was prosecuted and sentenced to six months in jail. In her words, she had “hit rock bottom.”
Brighter days were ahead for Karen, however. Here’s an excerpt from her story:
“My extremity became God’s opportunity. My incarceration proved to be the turning point of my life. It forced me to face my problem and need, and gave me time to talk with the Lord I had neglected for so many years. I came to realize that only he could change my life and enable me to conquer my addiction.
“This led me to start reading the Bible, and I began attending a Bible class for prisoners. When I asked God to forgive me, I knew he had done so because of his promise of forgiveness in the Bible: ‘If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,’ 1 John, 1:9. I also prayed for guidance and my prayer was answered.
“Today, I continue to enjoy a close walk with the Lord and my family. Each morning I ask him to guide me and help me all along the way. Even in trouble, he is all I need. He is the God of the impossible.”
Another uplifting story came from a heartbroken teenager.
She told me how she dreaded the coming months. Her grandmother had just been told that she had terminal cancer, but the coming months weren’t dreadful at all.
The predicted pain and suffering of cancer, chemotherapy and other feared effects of treating her illness never arrived.
This grandmother had been in her mid-80s when her doctor announced his disturbing diagnosis and when in her 90s, she received a proposal for marriage, which may have been the brightest day of her long life.
News reports continually remind us of the perils that surround us. Terrorists plot to kill, maim and destroy. Freedom seems at risk.
Is there a day brightener for our time?
Can light be found on dark days?
Yes. Nothing takes God by surprise.
As we read in 1 Peter, 1:19, the power of faith sees his unchanging love to be a light that shines in every dark place.
Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich. He has written more than 20 books and has had articles published in most major Christian magazines. He was a pastor for 22 years and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.
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