25th Anniversary

Today is a very special day in my life. Twenty-five years ago I was mired in the Watergate scandal. Almost every day I'd pick up the newspaper and see my name in headlines on the front page. There were times when I thought I was public enemy number 1. My world was collapsing. Twenty-five years ago this very day I visited a good friend who seemed so at peace that I was determined to find out what had happened in his life. Tom Phillips, then the president of Raytheon, read to me from a wonderful little book by C. S. Lewis titled Mere Christianity. Tom read from the chapter on pride, and told me about Jesus Christ. I'd been to church many times in my life, and I'd been at religious services at the White House, but until that night I had never heard the gospel. Tom wanted to pray with me that night but I was too proud to do so. I told him I'd read his book. I tucked Mere Christianity under my arm and headed for the car. But I was unable to drive out of the driveway that night because this so-called White House hatchet man, ex-marine captain, was crying too hard to get the keys into the ignition of the car. I sat there for a long time that night deeply convicted of my own sin. Desperate to know God, calling out to him, asking Him to come into my life. Nothing has been the same since that night. Nothing can ever be the same again because the living God lives in me. People can argue all they wish about whether Christianity is true or not. I know - because I know my Savior. Along the way I've learned some lessons. The most important one, as I reflect back, is that I used to think the most important things in life were money and power, prestige and position. But the more I achieved by the world's standards the emptier I was inside. It was in prison with everything gone that I realized the great lesson of life - the one that Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote about from the gulag, when he said, "Bless you prison, bless you, for being in my life, for there, lying on the rotting prison floor, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity, as we are made to believe, but the maturing of the human soul." We seek security in this world, we can never find it. When we lose our lives for Christ's sake we find the only security there is and the only meaning and purpose. When I got up this morning I prayed a prayer that I've prayed every morning for the past 25 years - but I prayed it with special feeling this morning because it was the quarter century mark. And that prayer is one of thanking God that he reached down in the depths of Watergate, picked up what was then public enemy number 1, turned his life around and now uses him for his glory and his purposes. People often ask me why I do what I do. This isn't easy work. I've been in 600 prisons including some of the worst hell holes in the world. My life has been threatened. It's demanding, it's pressure all the time. But I've never looked back. I do it not because it's a job, not because it's a ministry, not because there's some glamour in it - there's none. I do it out of gratitude to God for what He did in my life in that driveway 25 years ago. And it's that same gratitude that should drive every single one of us as Christians. Think about what Jesus did. I do all the time. I would have been overwhelmed by the stench of my own sin were I not certain for the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on that cross for my sins. And I'm forgiven.


Chuck Colson


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