You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29
What’s the toughest thing that you’ve ever had to go through? For my friend Coco, it was being arrested for selling drugs when she was a naïve twenty-something. She spent the next 24 years in the Women’s Central Prison in Bangkok, a place that has broken much stronger, harder inmates than Coco.
I remember the first time we met, at a half-way house called House of Blessing some 12 years ago. Coco had the biggest, brightest smile in the room – her whole face glowed. As she told me her story, her words bubbled over each other in her eagerness to get them out. She told me how very dark those first weeks and months in prison were. She thought how much better it would be to be dead. She felt betrayed, abandoned and utterly hopeless.
One day she heard about a group of volunteers who visited the prison every week. They were from the Thailand Christian Prison Ministry and they came to teach English, music and the Bible. She joined a Bible study group and was surprised to learn that there was hope and a future for her. It wasn’t long before she accepted Jesus as her Saviour: much sooner than she had expected, she was set free! Still inside the prison walls, to be sure, but her heart was truly free for the first time in her life. She became a joyful follower of Jesus and for the next twenty-plus years, she studied the Bible cover to cover and became a leader in the prison church, helping many other prisoners to find their freedom in Christ too.
As Coco finished telling her story, her teary eyes lit up and she squeezed my hands tightly. ‘Thank God for sending me to prison! Otherwise, I might never have met Jesus. I am so thankful – it’s the best thing that ever happened to me!’
Today, Coco is married to another former prisoner and sharing her testimony wherever she goes. She wants everyone to know that there is always hope, even in the darkest hours of life.
What dark place are you or people you know going through?
- Pray that God will help you trust Him to bring you through it and use it for His glorious good.
- Pray that God will open your eyes to those around you who need hope in their lives and give you the compassion and the words to point them to their Saviour.