Tim reluctantly stood up to speak to the others. He had wrestled with the idea of keeping quiet but then excused himself for coming forward by explaining that he had promised God he would tell the story to any who would listen.
For 10 or 15 minutes he told us of how his broken life was littered with violence, mental illness, and suicide attempts. Three of those attempts he flatlined in the hospital and miraculously came back to life. His fourth attempt left a horrible scar where he cut out a chunk of his arm along with an inch and a half of artery.
Once again, he miraculously recovered. Upon being discharged from a hospital in the Northeastern US during winter, he had no money and no place to go. Walking down the street he turned into a building that happened to be a church. There he tearfully poured out the pain and misery of his young life to a pastor for two hours. Lovingly, the pastor listened and when Tim was finished he offered that he stick around for the evening service or, if he preferred, go away and come back after the service and then they would put Tim up in a motel room.
Tim had nothing. He didn’t have any answers, only questions and despair — so he stayed. By Tim’s account, these accepting and loving people at the service were literally glowing. Their care for him was magnetic.
While in the motel, Tim reconnected with his Grandpa whom he loved and who was the only family he had that cared for him at all. While Grandpa slept in the other bed, Tim sat with his eyes closed and (as he said) “meditated”. This went on for about two or three hours at which point Tim told us that he saw (eyes closed) and felt a light come and fill him. With eyes still closed, he called out to Grandpa to look at him and tell him what he saw. Grumpily, he turned over so he could see Tim and said, “You are glowing!”
The story went on and Tim shrugged and sheepishly admitted the obvious. He fell away and was now incarcerated. But he had promised to tell the story to any who would listen - and we listened.
To me one of the most powerful parts of this testimony was what was not said plainly — that even with four miraculous healings, an encounter with loving and “glowing” believers, and a personal bathing in light and love by Jesus — with all that, Tim did not surrender his heart to Jesus.
The gift of a new heart is greater than any other miracle.
Likewise, the second powerful part was unsaid. Tim was returning to Jesus and the Body of Christ, the church right there in the prison. The love of God was still at work, dragging Tim into His kingdom. Pray Tim soon finds the freedom of repentance and surrender - the freedom of being imprisoned in the love of Jesus…. and the new heart from above.
God provides these testimonies. Please feel free to forward these to your friends.
The generous friends of Mark 4 provide the means for my being a part of His changing men’s hearts and transforming prisons.
Think of it as spiritual prison reform through ministering to both believing and unbelieving inmates.
Your financial support is needed, greatly appreciated and truly makes a difference.
Please be generous in your giving today.
Send checks to:
Mark 4 Ministries
P. O. Box 995
Port St. Joe, FL 32457