Two Steps Forward
“Two steps forward and one step backward.” It’s an old saying that is used to convey a lack of progress toward a goal. And sometimes, it seems to apply to Gospel ministry.
About four years ago, Kyle was incarcerated in a county jail. Once there, he quickly acquired a Bible and began attending a WELS Bible study. A few months later, when he was transferred to Dodge Correctional in Waupun, he joined our Tuesday morning Bible study at that prison. When Kyle was subsequently transferred to Fox Lake Correctional, we began to meet one on one almost every week to continue studying God’s Word together. By God’s grace, I watched as Kyle grew in his knowledge of God’s Word and, more importantly, his faith in Jesus. And then one week, one of the state chaplains notified me that Kyle no longer wanted to meet with me. No explanation was provided. Our study of God’s Word stopped. Just like that!
Fast forward some eighteen months. I received an e-mail from the state chaplain that Kyle had requested a visit with me once again. When I met with Kyle he apologized for discontinuing our study of God’s Word more than a year earlier. He explained that he read a book on Paganism. It was interesting, even captivating, to Kyle. His Bible began to collect dust as he read one book after another on Paganism. He joined the pagan group, and it became his life.
But then the Holy Spirit brought Kyle back to his Good Shepherd. Kyle began to reread the Gospel of John. When he read Jesus’ words in 17:17, “Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truth,” the Holy Spirit led Kyle to realize that ONLY the Word of God is the truth. Paganism is just a bunch of stories.
Kyle was released from prison a few weeks ago. But before he was released, he asked me for the name and address of the WELS congregation nearest to where he would be living. I gladly supplied that information, through the state chaplain. I thank the Holy Spirit that he had brought Kyle back to his Savior Jesus. And I look forward to seeing Kyle in heaven one day!
Chaplain Charles Iles