The day no one on earth looks forward to had arrived for me and was less than twelve hours away. I deserved every line and precept of my sentence. I wasn’t hoping for a miracle or different fate, I didn’t even believe in anything but being my own god. Despite being brought up in a good family, well to do parents and ever praying mother who made countless efforts to ensure I lived up to my birth name, I turned out differently, worse.
As a child, I kept to myself alot. I had very few friends who I valued. At age 15, I had my first smoke, loved it and soon became an addict under the age of 18. I left home and ran off with some friends who got me to using pills and other drugs as we made unbelievable amounts of money from our little cyber crime ring in the university. I wasn’t one who cared for the affection of people, I cared less if someone liked me or not and this emotional block had me take decisions my other friends couldn’t. As long as it favoured me or my gang, I had it done.
Although I expected my life to end someday, my arrest and arraignment came as a surprise as I at 24, had a large network of associates in high places which would get me out of any situation as incentive for the businesses I handled for them. Every single associate washed their hand off my case, they’d rather see me dead than get involved. The only one who seemed to care was the minister who came by weekly to convince me of an opportunity for a better life. One I ignorantly believed was impossible. Not for someone like me. I had caused so much pain for individuals, families, and organisations that no one would pronounce anything other than a death sentence on me.
Here I was, on the cold floor of my cell, deep in thoughts of how my life would have been if I’d lived it differently. Where I’d have been. I deserved to die, but a part of me wished it was a different death. Soon I would be given a last bath, a last meal of my choice and executed to cleanse the world of a disease, me.
My train of thoughts was cut short by an unexpected visit from the minister. Why was he here at this time? My fate is sealed, there’s no point coming to say anything to me.
‘‘Peter, I have one last visit to you but I believe it won’t be your last. You may not want to hear me but I must tell you what you need to hear.’’
‘‘You know I did everything they said I did right? I deserve everything I get. Nothing can change it.’’ I made it clear to him that I was prepared to die.
‘‘Peter, your mother never stopped praying for you. Her request before her death was that you ask God for forgiveness and accept him into your life before you leave this world. You should honour her at least.’’
Those words pierced my heart like a sword and for the first time in a long time, I felt pain. I felt remorse. I wished I could undo my past. I found myself on my knees, I didn’t know what to say but I was sorry. A tear rolled down my cheek. The words that came out of my mouth had never been spoken of me since I was a teenager. ‘‘God, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for everything. I have been a fool all my life, I’ve lived like I own myself. Please forgive me. Forgive me all I have done, I know I deserve to die but please save my soul.
The minister must have been shocked to see someone so hardened break down in tears, pleading to God, as he didn’t utter a word till I stopped sobbing. He held my hands and uttered these words, ‘‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.’’
I didn’t realise he’d left until the clinging sound of keys restored my consciousness. It was time for my last moments on earth.
The guard pulled me to my feet as my eyes met a trolley, sitting a layer of neatly ironed pants, a plain coloured shirt and a pair of brogue shoes. Above the layer was what smelled like the best meal I had seen or smelled in years. I was marched to the shower, and prepped for my last meal as I sat down in the warm clothes. The irony of my final moments. I stood in the yard, awaiting the sound of the automatic rifles aimed at me by the firing squad when something incredible happened.
‘‘You must be mistaken!’’ I heard the commanding officer say.
‘‘I thought so too but sadly, it’s an order and it stands. I don’t like it either but that’s what it is.’’ The warden said as he instructed a guard to take off my blindfold. He walked up to me as I managed to grasp a glimpse of his gaze.
‘‘You are in an unexplainable luck today. A soul as yours doesn’t deserve a presidential pardon for any reason. Today, you walk.’’
I didn’t know what to feel. I assumed it was a joke. They must have mistaken me for someone else. It’s impossible. I was in jail for so long that I didn’t even know who the president was. I couldn’t fanthom what had happened. Today I do. God’s grace extended to my life.
Sometimes we tend to undermine the grace and authority of God. We often say one can’t be forgiven of certain sins or evil done but we forget that God is not man. One who can sacrifice himself just to be a means of redemption for man through which we can be saved. He doesn’t go back on his word. If God can forgive one sin, he can forgive all sins. If we acknowledge our shortcomings, sincerely and willingly turn away from them, surrendering to him, he’s ever willing to accept us and cleanse us, making us better creatures.
A conversation with God saved my life, he can save yours if you talk to him today.