I was surrounded by a group of hardened men in a prison and challenged to deny the existence of God. At such times, God gives us the strength to do as He would have us do.
‘In the care of Her Majesty’
As a young man I did not always do as I should do and found myself in “the care of Her Majesty”, in prison, for a time. I never could though, renounce my belief in God, no matter what the surroundings or the circumstances. The prison I was in had housed prisoners from at least 1830 and so was a very foreboding, cold and nasty place, housing everyone from convicted murderers to the innocent and foolhardy.
Learning to live in prison
I had largely kept myself aloof from most people and found much solace in the reading of a small gold pocket sized Gideon’s New Testament. I ventured to speak occasionally to some I felt comfortable with and eventually I had a bit of a reputation as a bit of a ‘Jesus freak’. In prison this is not necessarily a beneficial thing.
One morning after muster and breakfast I was in a fairly dark hallway in the wing, just a short distance from the guards’ glass-fronted cubicle, but completely out of their direct line of sight. I do not remember why I was there but I recall quite vividly the opened gates at the end of the hall and the bright light from the sun coming only a short way into the building. It was a nice day outside.
There was the typical hustle and bustle of inmates heading into the yards to socialize with others while a few were heading to their employ.
Surrounded by ‘hard’ men
Very suddenly I was completely surrounded by six or seven hardened types who declared to me that there is no God. How could I know that there was a God? And who did I think I was telling people such rubbish? Each was firing questions at me with the hope that I would fold and deny, or at the very least, a vigorous debate would ensue. Eventually it became quite obvious to me that their intimidation was with the absolute intention to do me harm, however, I knew what I knew and I could not deny it.
A challenging question
Nothing I could say about God or from the Scriptures was of any use. Finally, God gave me something to say to them: “you all believe in the Devil, right?” One at a time, I gained eye contact with them, starting with the fellow who seemed to be their leader, and asked individually, each of them in that circle; “Do you believe in the Devil?” Each one, in turn, confessed that he did so believe. Finally I asked them all, “well then, why not his opposite?”
As they pondered this question, I excused myself from the circle that had me bound and never again did I have a problem with any of those guys. About a year later one of that circle saw me and noised loudly and admiringly, “Hey’ you’re that guy who spoke to us about God!” He was noticeably impressed and admitting to me their evil intent at the time, indicated to me that they were all amazed that I’d simply walked free from them.
It was a very difficult challenge, however, I knew that no matter what the outcome, I had to stand firm at that time. I thanked God immediately that I was outside in the sunshine and away from that predicament. Even though I was imprisoned, I felt free, and I knew that God was with me no matter where I was.
I still thank Him, and to this day I still know I must always stand firm.
The Reason (music video)