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Sometimes we have to hit bottom in order to look up.

Time seemed to stand still as I sat in a trash-strewn gutter with rain pelting me like beads of glass. Thoughts played across my mind about the many years of drug abuse and the crime I had recently committed. I thought about the woman I just carjacked, kicking her out on the other side of the bridge with no harm to her person, but indeed she had been robbed. It was as if I sat outside myself wondering who I was. Could I really have done that to someone? It almost didn’t seem real.

As guilt robbed me of my sanity, I thought of a different life. One in which my only concern was how much candy I could get into my mouth at one time. Surely I didn’t plan on growing up to be a dope-fiend and a robber. Even through my drug-clouded mind, I knew right from wrong. I knew I had to turn myself in.

There was no trial. I pled guilty to a life sentence with the possibility of parole because I felt so guilty about what I’d done, being raised by my dearest mother, who knew somewhat about God. She taught us kids about His heavenly light, and through her loving hand and His guidance, His character was imprinted on our hearts.

My curiosity took me to church and eventually to my knees, accepting His loving gift. Yet I couldn’t understand how a righteous God could love me.

As I read my Bible and learned of His tender mercies and exactly what grace meant, He took me on a journey of trial and test. He showed me what it means to be a man of God. He showed me the many men He used in days of old, such as Noah, Peter, Paul (Saul), and many more who in one way or another were much like me. He showed me how He used these men to bring about His sovereign will. The seed was planted in my heart. God could really use me, a sinner. I learned of forgiveness and faith and His acceptance of me.

I am still in prison thirteen years later. But now I am a Christian doing my best to do the Lord’s will, in His way, and in His time. For I have been saved by grace through faith.

Chris Deigan writes from Vacaville, California.

Saved by Grace

by Chris Deigan
From the January 2006 Signs