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"I Surrender"
Facing years of incarceration for a crime he did not commit, he wanted to die.  He hardly imagined that his time in jail could become the best time of his life.

"... God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).

I can't believe I can sit here in my prison cell in contentment and peace, knowing I should not be here! My peace is not because of anything I have done but because of what Christ Jesus has done in me. May I never let go of this simplistic yet very profound truth. There is nothing—and I mean absolutely nothing—I can or could ever possibly do to make God love me more, because God is love.

… they call me "sky pilot" on the range, which is a jail term for minister or priest.

God loves all His children in the world. When I say all, I mean all. Christ came to save us all who are lost, sick and weak in spirit and live in our sinful nature, as I did.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 NKJV).

Yes, John 3:16 is undoubtedly one of the most read and quoted passages in the New Testament. I used to make fun of, judge and persecute those who believed in John 3:16. I thought the Bible to be a sham and unintelligent. Now, here am I, seven months later, a living, breathing and loving ambassador in Christ, and still in jail. In fact, they call me "sky pilot" on the range, which is a jail term for minister or priest. I feel blessed to be a servant in Christ.

My conversion was sudden, startling and dramatic. Christ wanted my life in full surrender. On February 27, 2007, I was arrested for a bank robbery, a robbery I never committed, and the Crown wants years of my life. I am completely (100 percent) innocent. This major tribulation shocks and crucifies my inner being. I was on my knees, completely broken, hopeless and lost. I was exactly where God intended me to be, dead to self.

I was overwhelmed as He (Christ) led me to memories of the cross, then a red Gideon Bible on the range. For the next ten days I read, prayed and poured out my heart to the Lord. On the 11th day I decided there was nothing to lose in believing in Christ because I felt my life was over. In reality it had just begun.

"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39 NKJV).

On March 9, 2007, I was fortunate to have a servant in Christ, Chaplain Ed, from the Salvation Army, lead me into becoming a born again child of the Almighty God through Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. I certainly was not expecting or seeking any sort of an experience, however the next day I was indeed different. I felt fresh, alive, new, precious, free, gracious, needed, wanted and loved. It was then that I knew that Christ Jesus had forgiven all my sins, wiped my slate clean.

Two days later, I wrote the following prose about my intense encounter with Jesus on the cross, the Son of God. I call it "Reborn" and I hope it helps many who are lost, alone and ready to surrender.

Reborn: Born Again March 9, 2007

Almost broken

Many times I have been so sure—so sure that my whole being had finally surrendered, so sure that I don't want this hellish life of addiction anymore—only to have failed miserably and become a fool once again. How many times do I have to die inside and feel completely demoralized with shame and sorrow from another relapse? I felt so much shame from destroying the lives of all who loved me. So much shame that I can't crawl out of bed to face another day or look in the mirror. My true love and soul mate is now gone forever. My heart is crushed in bits and pieces and is dark, very dark. My spirit is shattered, my mind crippled, my body and bones broken. And then the power of the world takes away my freedom. Incarcerated am I, even though completely innocent of the charge.

The “how” of complete brokenness—the “how” of my death

Every fear, every sin, every person I have loved, wronged, hated; all hurts, resentments, remorse; all guilt, shame, jealousy and crimes committed—all of this comes to me, at once, in huge waves of misery and contempt. I can't run, hide or fake it any more. I can't move or manipulate anymore.

I can't breathe, lie or act bigger than I am anymore. My heart stops! I break into a billion pieces and drop to my knees on the hard, cold concrete floor, in the lonely smell-of-death of the prison cell which is now my coffin.

I pray and plead to my god for a quick death. Nothing happens. Silence. I beg and cry out to my god. Nothing happens. Silence. I am speechless, alone, afraid and finally broken. I am ready for death.

Then suddenly a voice inside of me speaks. "You know who I am, John?" I nod my head, "Yes," and tears roll down my face and I say, "Jesus."

Jesus continues, "Are you ready to stop playing a victim and blaming others? Are you ready to stop acting bigger and smaller than you are? Are you ready to stop playing god and trying to run the show? Are you finally finished with your sorrow and suffering pity trips? Are you ready to let go of your prideful ways? Are you ready to be fully forgiven of all your sins? Are you finally ready, John, to surrender your life to me completely? For I died for you!" I choke with tears of humility and humbly and silently say, "Yes."

Jesus says, "Then you're forgiven and you died on the cross with me. Now rise up, my new John. You are born again and have a new heart."

That was how it felt to die while still alive.

Christ is real in my life. He is no joke any more. My worst experience has become my best because Christ lives in me! And He could live in you. All it takes is a leap of faith, to believe in who He says He is, the Son of God.

My trial is coming soon and my trust is in the Lord.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

"I know that all things work together for good to those that love God" (Romans 8:28).

Some days I wish that I could lose myself so far in Christ that there is no way I could possibly come back. His love is that intoxicating.

Originally published in The Canadian Gideon, December 2007.




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