Sunday, May 3, 2020 -
“R” has been very discouraged now for over a month, ever since he was once again denied parole. He’s done 47 years of his 60-year sentence, which means he’s got 13 more years to go. He was imprisoned at 18, so prison life is about all he knows.
His dad died from complications during open-heart surgery. And so, seventeen years ago, on the gurney in the hallway being wheeled to the operating room for open-heart surgery, “R” fully repented of his sin and gave his life to Christ. The result: today he’s got a seminary degree and is far more knowledgeable about the Bible and church history than I. He is a completely changed person!
“R” has never confided in me about why he has a 60-year sentence but admits he deserves it. Yet now, even though he realizes God has wiped his slate clean, he longs for a normal life outside of prison, something he’s never had. His mother was a prostitute and died at a young age (probably a drug overdose), and his father wasn’t much of a father. He began using drugs at 12-years old.
“R” told me that he likes to read Proverbs 3, for in it we see all the things that man desires, which are promised to those who love the Lord and keep His commandments, trusting fully in the Lord. These things are a long life (v. 2), peace (v. 2), a good reputation (v. 4), with a life full of bounty and blessings (v. 9). Yet these things have eluded him, and he tells me over and over again he believes he will die in prison.
What do I say? I tell him I pray for him every day. And I pray for his release. If ever I could advocate for someone to receive a presidential pardon because of a truly changed and remorseful life, it would be on behalf of “R.” He is a sweet man who just exemplifies the life of someone totally sold out to Christ and full of the Holy Spirit. He’s a bold witness, and uncompromising in every aspect of his life. I try to encourage him, and he claims that I do. But I do know this – “R” is an amazing encouragement to me. We get together with “W” every day now and study God’s Word and talk about the Lord and His goodness.