by Gary Titus
Coming to prison at the age of 18, thinking I would never get out was difficult for me. I began a downward spiral toward a life full of hate, bitterness, and anger. After hitting what seemed to be rock bottom, I knew I needed to change something inside of me, though I didn’t know how.
I eventually developed a hunger to change my life, but all through my climb out of the darkness, I could never reach the light I was seeking. The more I climbed, the further away the light became. Then on July 19, 2002, my 33rd Birthday, I gave my life to Jesus Christ at an Inner Change Freedom Initiative (IFI) revival. Upon making the commitment to follow Jesus as Lord, a hand reached down into the hole I had been struggling to climb out of, and pulled me out. That hand belonged to Jesus. He was the light I was seeking all along.
Now, nearly two years later, I found myself sitting in prison listening to Henry Blackaby talk about how he watched God, through an incredible set of circumstances, set a lifer free from prison. He said this lifer became a powerful witness for God upon his release, because no one believed he’d ever get out of prison. While these encouraging words flowed from Mr. Blackaby, I felt he was looking unswervingly at me, as if he somehow knew my situation.
I began to notice that throughout his talk, Mr. Blackaby would look me in the eye when his words were piercing my heart. The man sitting next to me even commented on it later, telling me he noticed Mr. Blackaby looking directly at me while he spoke to my present circumstances.
I believe the Holy Spirit used this man to speak confirmation into my life that God has a plan for me. “If God has transformed your life, He has an eternal purpose to work out through you,” Mr. Blackaby stated as he concluded his time with us. “God has done it before. He’s changed whole nations by those who were in prison. Don’t let anybody tell you your circumstances hinder the purposes of God,” he said.
Many men felt the power of the Spirit in the words Mr. Blackaby spoke. While I watched a parade of inmates line up to thank him and have him autograph their Bibles or Experiencing God workbooks, I did not want to get up. I did not want to leave. I remember thinking, “I do not need to line up for his autograph. The Spirit of God has already placed Mr. Blackaby’s autograph upon my heart.”
In Experiencing God, he wrote about spiritual markers and how they identify a time when you clearly know God’s will in your life. Hearing Mr. Blackaby speak will always be a time in my life I will look back on as a spiritual marker. I have such peace about God’s plan in my life. Thanks to Mr. Blackaby and the power of the Holy Spirit upon him, I now have an undying faith that I will one day walk out of this prison a free man.