My wife and I were very blessed this weekend with the opportunity to get to know our Brother in the Lord, Brian Cole. He has one of those unbelievable stories of coming out of a horrible lifestyle. Its so incredible that I don’t even know how to summarize it. Brian had made many bad choices that lead him into drugs and the occult, and 33 years of being locked up. His story is also about redemption. Through a God guided series of events he became a believer and servant of Jesus. It kind of reminded me of CS Lewis’ “being the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England”. I highly recommend that you check out Brians website http://www.setusfree.org . His testimony can be found on Youtube as well. I hope it moves you as deeply as it moved me.
As I listened to Brian’s testimony, I was reminded of Jesus speaking to Peter in Luke 22:32 ” But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Imagine that, Jesus knew Peter was going to fail, but still had great plans and work for him to do. Jesus was already beyond Peters sin and knew that Peters heart was with Him. Jesus didn’t throw him away. Jesus didn’t throw Brian away either. Brian didn’t have faith, but He had plans for him, and even before Brian was saved, he had a purpose.
What needs to be convicting for the rest of us, is that we didn’t think God could use people like Peter or Brian. Do we consider that God could have a purpose in mind for a Satan worshipper and meth head. Someone who denied Christ? God was way past their sin and today, both of them get glory in Jesus’ eyes because they are strengthening their brothers. Brian sure was an unyielding and needed breathe of fresh air for us.
Maybe the next “Brian Cole” is still sitting in prison. Maybe some of us need to get off our Holy Arses and go find him. Jesus didn’t find any throw-away people, all had value to Him. Enough value to die for. Jesus died between two thieves and one got saved. Not because he wasn’t as filthy as the other, but because Jesus was there and offered him hope and he trusted Jesus. Who is telling the thieves and criminals of today about Jesus? Why are we keeping eternal hope to ourselves? It really seems like the ultimate cruelty doesn’t it? If they were important to Jesus and we are His humble servants, why aren’t the same people important to us? Not everyone recovering from the effects of sinful decisions will go out and change the world, but you can for them. You can change their eternity. If only one gets saved, the rejoicing in Heaven will blow your mind. Throwaways matter to Jesus, they matter to Brian and they matter to me. Do they matter to you?
Honestly, I’m a bit ashamed that I have neglected those folks in prison. I haven’t even prayed for them or their families. It seems like we want them put away so we don’t even have to think about them or even see them. That is sin too, but we aren’t getting punished for our sinful attitudes. We only read about theirs. Are you ready for a paradigm shift ? I say lets go get them and serve them. Lets humble ourselves and reach out to their families. We are totally kidding ourselves if we think we are one ounce better than them. God has a plan for them and maybe it involves you. Change the world. Pray hard friends.