A friend of mine is transformed by Christ, and her old life is completely gone. Last night, she gave her testimony at a Christian gathering, full of people who loved her, and invited me to hear her speak. I made the long drive, and it was worth every minute of the trip.

We see each other fairly often, for women who live more than sixty miles away. We’re in a small group together and an online group, as well. She’s one of the most consistent, godly women I know,  generous, loving, forgiving, and serving.

Her life is Christ, but it wasn’t always.

I’m so accustomed to the Jesus in her that I forget there was a time before Christ, a time when sin ruled and she spent her days and nights partying, drinking, smoking, promiscuity, doing drugs, selling drugs. It is easy to forget she was arrested several times for “minor” crimes, and hard to believe she was ever in prison, but she was.

Last night, she talked about coming to Christ. In 2007, my friend entered prison for selling drugs. All she carried with her was deodorant and a Bible because that’s all they allowed. Everything was stripped away – drugs, sex, alcohol, family. The cell, a bunk bed, the Bible, and the hurt inside her were all that remained. Without the distractions, she opened her Bible and began to read.

Living Scripture did its powerful work.

Scripture says it is living and active and powerful, and she soon learned its truth. After six months, she read Matthew 11:28 and the Sword of the Spirit slashed straight into her heart.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Face down on her bed, she wept into her pillow and surrendered her weariness, hurt, and burdens to the One who promised rest.

Jesus changed everything.

Jesus did exactly what Scripture says He will do. He healed her hurt and changed her desires. The Scripture became her life during the remainder of her prison term, and she grew like a long-neglected plant finally given the water and nutrients it needs.

Transformed: The old has gone. The new has come.

Her old life is completely over, and she’s transformed. She’s clean and sober and has been for more than a decade.  My sweet friend is happily married and the leader of our small group, with adult children and beautiful grandchildren. She’s active in her church, participates in mission trips often, and is one of my most faithful prayer supporters.

Did the people who knew her in the “old” days expect God to transform her so completely? Probably not. Was there someone praying? I imagine so.

As I listened to my friend last night, I sat in awe of the miraculous transformation God has done. I pondered the people I know who desperately need that same transformation, and my hope blossomed again.

God is still in the business of redemption. He still changes lives.

Before she entered prison, she lived in the inescapable bondage of sin. She entered that penitentiary and found God waiting for her. Inside those walls, He set her free, and she still is.

Many of us love someone whose choices have taken them from bad to worse, perhaps even to addiction, crime, prison. My friend is living proof that there’s always hope. As long as there’s life, there’s a chance of surrender, forgiveness, and redemption.

If we’re waiting for someone we love to turn around, let’s remember my friend, and keep on praying.

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

If you’re looking for an in-depth Bible study that will transform your life, consider the new James study, now available in an e-book format from Amazon.com

James ebook cover

 

You might also like:

Is it Possible to Walk the Blameless Path? 

When We’re Finally Sick of Our Own  Sin and Decide to Let it Go

When Where You Arrived Is Not Where You Meant to Go

Create in Me a Clean Heart is a free 5-part Bible study, based on Psalm 51, available when you sign up for my twice-a-month newsletter. Here’s the link: Free Bible study

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