July 6, 2008
Sunday, 5:00 p.m.
Letter #43: An Unmissed Opportunity
Happy Lord’s Day! Today is a day He made! Rejoice and be glad in it! I hope you realize, especially as we celebrate our freedom this time of year, how very blessed we are to worship God freely! Never take it for granted.
Did you go to church today? By the time our building was released to go to yard (which is when I go to church—usually at 9:00 a.m. Sundays), it was 10:40 a.m. and the chaplain didn’t want to let us in for the remaining 20 minutes. I talked to him outside instead. Are your church services ever delayed or canceled due to fog? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
After the fog cleared, an incident on “C” yard kept us inside until late morning. A medi-vac helicopter brought in wasn’t expected to increase the guy’s chance at survival either. It kinda put into perspective the drama of my day. I was extremely disappointed to not be able to go to church … however, that little “drama” didn’t hold a candle to the serious drama a man’s family is facing. It makes me grateful to just be alive to bring Him praise. With the privilege you have of attending church whenever you want to—don’t neglect it!
I promised a follow-up on Scott, my witch buddy. (Who said “Witch Scott?”) 🙂 The plan was for Scott to leave early Wednesday morning, July 2. Tuesday morning, God arranged for Scott to sit at my table for breakfast, along with my cellie, Lorenzo, and Matthew, a young man who is bold for the Lord. No sooner did we sit down and take a couple of bites and Matthew started in with Scott, giving Scott his testimony of God’s forgiveness.
I told Scott that though Matthew and I had lived very different lives, I, too, ran from God and did what was evil in His sight. I told Scott that I know God has a plan for His life—that God created these moments for him to turn to God.
Scott looked me square in the eye throughout our conversation, smiling or laughing at the right moments. Matthew was my tag-team partner, as we both realized this would probably be our last opportunity to talk to him one-on-one.
Scott thanked me as I told him I’d pray for him. He worked in the kitchen throughout the day, so I didn’t see him again. I spent several hours back in my cell drafting a letter to Scott, however, which I sent over to his cell later that evening.
In the letter, I told him several ways in which he and I are alike. At points it was humorous (“We’re both male—I hope this does not come as a surprise to you”) and throughout it, I was very direct. It had points such as “We’ve both flunked the entrance exam to Heaven,” and I concluded the points with “We both have a choice to make. I’ve made mine.”
Each of the points had Scripture, and God gave me humility and genuine love and concern for Scott’s eternal well-being. I reaffirmed my commitment to pray for him and gave him a request to write to me.
In the morning, my door was popped open for breakfast, and standing in front of his door, two doors down, was Scott! I was stunned, thinking he was going to leave in the early morning. Turns out, they delayed his departure until after breakfast. Well, Scott came right up to me and said, “Hey. I got your letter. Thanks.” And then he hugged me!!
I told him “no problem,” and again told him I’d pray for him. He thanked me and told me that I’m gonna be the first person he writes to. Praise God!
Scott’s receptivity to the Gospel emboldened me—isn’t it true how we can so easily fool ourselves into thinking that if we open our mouths to talk to someone about Christ, he’ll reject us or reject the Word or reject what we are trying to say? I seem to like to “play God” by deciding—before I ever talk to anyone about Christ—who is going to reject it. I then never give that person the opportunity to reject it for himself, because I keep silent.
Sure, I fool myself into thinking I’m being “polite” or I’m not being “pushy” or I’m not gonna “embarrass” someone or make him feel “uncomfortable.” Really? Really. Yeah, that sounds like a perfect plan—one that fails miserably in my heart if I start to care—REALLY CARE—enough about someone to picture him lost in his sins, headed to hellfire. Talk about uncomfortable! How polite is THAT, to have the answers to save a man, and you didn’t want to interrupt his life long enough to tell him how to be saved? Shame on me for the embarrassment I’ll have to face someday, facing God and trying to explain all the missed opportunities.
Praise be to God alone—Scott won’t be one of those “missed opportunities.” Pray for his salvation, please.