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God’s Instant Grace

Four years ago I was arrested for selling heroin and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. My girlfriend was pregnant and high out of her mind. When we were pulled over, she faked labor pains to try and divert the police. It didn’t work. We were arrested, and I was thrown into jail.

I wasn’t your typical drug dealer. In fact, I had worked for the county as a corrections officer and had a solid reputation within the community. I can remember feeling like my life was over. I was ashamed, and knowing how deeply I had shamed my family was the worst part of it.

As I went through the process of being incarcerated, I lost all hope. An addict for about 13 years, I was going through withdrawal from heroin. I also had a severe back injury and was in constant pain.

Then I attended a chapel service in jail. I heard about grace and forgiveness, a love that just wisped through my ears and into my heart. I wondered if the preacher was telling the truth and if this Jesus really did love me.

One day a cellmate told me to talk to the chaplain. The chaplain gave me a Bible and told me that he would pray for me. As I was reading the Bible, I began to weep and cry out to the Lord to help me. The verses that stuck out to me were Matthew 7:7,8 — “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (NIV).

I confessed my sins and trusted in Jesus. I asked God to help me and to heal my back. And I asked God to be with my son who was not yet born. Since my girlfriend had been on drugs during her pregnancy, I knew our son would be at risk.

The next day I woke up and did not have pain. It was wonderful. I began to grow closer to the Lord and sensed that God was calling me to do something. A little later, a pastor came to see me and told me I could be a great preacher one day. I was blessed by his comment and continued to trust in the Lord.

My girlfriend came to see me, but I could tell our relationship was over. I continued to hope our baby would be all right.

Once I was out of jail on bond, my mind raced. I didn’t know what would happen next or where to go. Then I met the pastor of a local Assemblies of God church. He helped me to understand what it means to be a true Christian. His faith was genuine. He was a good brother. At a young adults meeting, he asked us if anyone needed prayer. I told the group that I needed prayer for mercy since I was preparing to go to court.

God was merciful, and my sentence went from 2-5 years in state prison to probation. Six months later my probation officer said, “Son, I don’t know why you’re here or why you did these things, but you’re different now and you’re not like one of these guys.”

The officer said if I paid my fine I could be done altogether. God provided the money — more than $2,000 — and in six months of probation I was done.

God also healed my son after he was born addicted to drugs, could not open his eyes, and was in a life-or-death state. Praise God! And through it all I was called to ministry, went to school for ministry, and I am now pastoring the church were I first attended after jail.

I married a wonderful Christian woman, and we were able to get custody of my son. So he is being raised by a mother who loves the Lord. We have seen God’s hand move in supernatural ways all the time.

If you are losing hope, say the name of Jesus. He is with you. God can take the bad and make it good. Sometimes it is in an instant; sometimes it takes a while. I believe God is showing us that He loves us no matter what we go through or who we are.

God doesn’t make mistakes, and I know that my life is no mistake. I don’t believe God brought drugs into my life or that I have some disease or hereditary disorder. I believe God’s grace took those things out of my life faster than the devil put them in. I was addicted to drugs for about 13 years, but it only took 1 millisecond of God’s grace, mercy and redeeming power to set me free.

The author is now involved in full-time pastoral ministry.

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