I was not an alcoholic. I was not a drug addict. I was not a degenerate or a criminal – according to social standards. I also saw myself as a man who is okay. I was not an unbeliever; I always believed in God, but I led a godless way of life, which did not make me special or holy because, as it says, „The Devil also believes” (…) and yet he is against God. And it was the same with me; I grew up in a Catholic family, but we called ourselves: believers – non-practicing.
But my life did not indicate that I would ever go to prison.
Everything changed in a few hours; I became both a drunkard and a criminal. I was in custody. If that morning someone told me that this day would end like that, I would not believe it.
When I was in custody, it was hard for me to get used to this, I was afraid of this place, I had a rather dark perspective of a long sentence. There, I began to turn to God; I prayed with prayers that I knew as the Our Father. I could not pray differently, I thought it would change something.
I also started going to mass. Pastors from the Pentecostal Church, whom I had never heard before, also began to come, but I did not want to go to meetings with „a sect.”
After some time, I was transferred to another prison and something started to happen there, I began to think about life issues. I thought to myself: I call myself a believer, I have all these sacraments, but I do not really know anything about God. I decided that it would be good to read the Bible, because it finally speaks of God, because I was interested in what would happen to me after death and I asked myself: if I’m so well perceived by people, what am I doing in such a place ?!
In my cell, people who I perceive as God’s work and God’s tools began to appear; they did not tell me the gospel directly, they did not say what Jesus did for me. But God used them to make me start reading the Bible, but I did not have any. With a colleague, we discovered that Jehovah’s Witnesses who visit the prison are giving away the Bible to people. And for this purpose, we started to meet with them. For me it was a time to look for God; I read the Bible, I asked different questions.
After a while, I stopped to meet with Jehovah’s witnesses, because I discovered that in their Bible a lot of things are crossed out or untranslated at all, in a strange way they were usually fragments talking about salvation in Jesus. But the attitude of one of the Witnesses I talked to most discouraged me. I just saw that pride speaks. And that’s what put me off.
Soon I began to attend all the meetings that were; I became hungry for God, I was looking for Him. In the end I also broke my aversion and started reading the Bible – like a book, from the first to the last.
At that time, I was attending a meeting with people from the Pentecostal church and I remembered how one of the brothers said that when he was in prison, God’s love poured down on him and he cried like a child.
He also told me the testimony of a couple, who were completely absorbed the renovation of the house. This wife, one day sat down in this house and hit the Bible at random, and there she came across this quote: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”(Haggai 1:4)
I was very moved by this testimony. I, who was doing the tile work, thought: It’s in the Bible, written so many years ago about tiles ?!
But the Bible bored me with the Old Testament. Then my brother, who told me his testimony, suggested to me to read from the New Testament. So I did.
I did not know that I was converting, I only know that it was the turn of 2001/2002. My heart has been so involved in looking for God that the first thing in the morning, before the coffee was reading the Bible. I devoted every free moment to it.
God has made it easier for me! At that time, for 11 people in the cell, 7 read the Bible! We could talk about it freely! Reading the Bible, I got answers to the questions that bothered me. I learned in the end why I – so good – am in prison. I saw a text in which the Lord Jesus says, „So that every good tree gives good fruit, but a bad tree gives bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut out and thrown into the fire. „(Mt 7: 17-19).
I realized that I am just a bad tree. And that my destiny is hell, which I tried to imagine whenever I closed my eyes in the evening.
And then, for the first time in my life, I began to pray; honestly, in a spirit saying:
Lord God, what will happen to me? How I lived, what did I do? Help me!
And God answered this prayer. I saw changes in my life, something happened that I could not name. Now that I was wetting someone, it did not get me like it used to be, but I apologized to God for it, I felt an authentic regret. Second thing: I do not even know when I stopped cursing.
I was also struck by a quote from the Bible: Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
This verse delighted me! God spoke to me; I have to leave my past and move forward!
And suddenly I was overcome by a fear I had never experienced in my life. It was the fear of a person who would once stand before God not being reconciled to him. I thought I would die of that fear!
And a moment later, centimeter by centimeter from the top of my head, I felt how this fear is coming from me, and in its place there is … a great joy mixed with love. This cannot be described! I did not know what was happening to me, but I was so overcome with so much joy and love that I was ready to hug and kiss everyone in the cell!
And light came upon me ; I did double take over and over but that big light remained.
Since then, my life has changed. I spent a total of 4.5 years in prison and I do not regret this time – being free I would never look for God. Initially, I wanted to get closer to God, to leave the prison, and then when I started to live with God in prison, this life really was not difficult. It was filled with God. I was in prison and I did not see bars. What I want to say: For a man who is looking for God, there are no obstacles because God is not limited by the bars.
Adam, a blogger in DOM SŁOWA