Chapter 4: Revelation

Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything  completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12. NLT

John started seminary in the fall and was quickly engrossed in his studies; partly because he felt that he owed it to God and his congregation, and partly because he hoped that the study of God and His Word would fill in the void. Year one passed unremarkably. Knowing that he had to work to fill in the gaps for school, John applied to work in a state-run summer program. He was assigned to work in the state prison library. John was excited when he reported to work. Not only would he be making a good wage, he would get to work with the lost and alone and have the opportunity to lead people to Christ.

John walked up to the check in desk with the joy of the Lord on his face, when all of a sudden he was surrounded by guards with drawn guns. John’s smile quickly faded as they handcuffed him and escorted him to the Warden’s office. He had never so much as gotten a parking ticket, and now he was in handcuffs. When he got to the Warden’s office, the Warden demanded to know how he had escaped and who had helped him? He told him that if he was going to make up a name for false ID, John Miracle was not a very good choice. John was completely bewildered. He explained that he was a seminary student who was assigned to the prison library as part of a summer work program. Although, the Warden really didn’t believe his story, he checked it out and found it to be true. A very confused John asked the Warden why he thought he was an escaped criminal. The Warden told him that there was a prisoner there who looked so much like him he could be his twin. John assured him that he had no brothers or sisters. In fact, he had no one. His parents were killed in an accident, and everyone said it was a miracle that anyone survived. John was written on the label in the back of his clothing, so the nurses named him John Miracle. The warden marveled at the resemblance and sent him to his job in the prison library.

“Hey man you got a twin! Except he ain’t in the joint!” This was the fifth time someone had said this to Isaac this week. “Man, what you talkin’ bout?”  Isaac finally asked the last inmate who told him that. The inmate stopped and
said, “Man there is a guy working in the library that looks just like you. He say he don’t know you, but ya’all got to be related. It’s spooky. Go and see for  yourself.” Isaac didn’t even know where the library was. In the two years he
had been in the prison, Isaac had no desire to read. Reading reminded him of school, and how everyone had abandoned him. His girlfriend finished high school and went away to college, and his parents visited him from time to time, but he had rejected any reconciliation. He knew that no matter what, his parents would always get to that God loves you stuff, and he just did not want to hear it. He hated prison and he hated the people, so after establishing his territory, he stayed to himself. However, his curiosity had been piqued, so he decided to visit the library at his first opportunity.

Isaac browsed around the library before going to the checkout desk. When he finally got up the courage, he walked over to the checkout desk and sure enough, he was looking at a living, breathing, mirror image of his face. Isaac was so overcome that he ran out of the library. He could not catch his breath. There really was another man the looked like him. Suddenly that empty space in him didn’t seem so big. John was shocked too. He knew that he looked like another inmate, but this man looked like his twin. After the man had looked at him and ran out of the library, John sat down behind the desk to think about this encounter. It was eerie to see someone who looked like him. What was more surprising, was the instant connection he felt with this man who he had never seen before. He prayed that the man would come back.

The next day Isaac went to the library and sat at table to summon up the courage to speak to this stranger that looked exactly like him. The library was almost empty, so John went over to him and sat down. “Hello, my name is John Miracle, and looking at you is just like looking in the mirror.”  “I know, this is really bizarre, my name is Isaac, Isaac Monroe.”  You know, Isaac  continued, “I don’t usually talk to anyone, but it seems like we know each
other, maybe we are related.” John replied, “I doubt it. I don’t have any  family to speak of.  Both of my parents were killed in an accident when I was an infant. The car was completely destroyed and the only way they even knew my name was because John was written on the label of my clothes. The nurses at the Agora County  Hospital said that it was a miracle that I survived, so they named me John Miracle. I spent all of my life in foster care, some good places and some not so good. At 15 God sent me to live with Jim and MaMay. I stayed with them until I finished high school and they helped me get a scholarship to college. I am working here to earn money for my second year.” Isaac listened intently. He was from nearby Lymon county. His parents had told him that he was adopted a long time ago because his parents were killed but that is all they said and that is all he ever asked. Isaac said, “I guess you are really mad for all of the things that have happened to you.” Isaac replied,  “Not really, because I know that I was kept here for a reason.” At that moment, the guard came to tell Isaac that his recreation period was over.

Over the next several days Isaac pondered on what this man that looked like him had said, and finally decided to ask his father about the circumstance of his  birth. Marvin rejoiced when he received a letter from Isaac asking him to come  and see him when he could. Although Marvin and Deena had written many times, this is the first time Isaac had ever written them. Marvin was at the prison on the next visiting day. Isaac actually smiled when he saw his father. For the first time that he could remember the empty space in him was not so big.

Isaac began the conversation on the telephone through the plexiglass window. “Dad would you tell me the story of my adoption again? Sure son. Marvin went on to repeat how Isaac’s parents were killed in a terrible auto accident and all that he was thrown clear and taken to the hospital, that his parents were never  identified and that the name Isaac was written in his clothing. Isaac listened  intently, as if he had never heard it before. Marvin could sense something and  asked Isaac what was the matter. Isaac said, “Dad, something amazing happened here. I met a man who works in the prison library who looks exactly like me and tells the same story about his adoption as you do.” Marvin was stunned. He asked, “is this man a prisoner here too?’ “No, he is part of a summer work program. He goes to college in Lymon  County, and get this—his  name is John Miracle. He said the nurses named him that because it was a  miracle that he survived. He was never adopted and grew up in foster care.”  Isaac continued, “You know something else dad, with all of the bad things that  happened to him growing up, he said he wasn’t mad. He said that it made him strong and he was sure that one day he would be able to help someone because of what he went through. Dad, I think I have a twin. Is there any way that you  could find out if this is true?” Just then the phone went dead and the guard  led Isaac away.

My Brother, My Friend

Three days later Isaac visited the library to see John. It was not very busy, so the two men sat down to talk. Isaac said, “Tell me about your life now. What are  you studying in college? John told him that he was in seminary preparing for  the ministry. Isaac was stunned. “How could you want to be a minister with all  of the bad things that happened to you?” John closed his eyes as he reflected  on his past life. “Yes, I have had a very rough life, but I always knew there was something more, something better. I knew inside that I was saved from that accident for a reason. It was that hope that helped me go through those hard times. It was that hope that sustained me until it went to the home of Jim and MaMay. They were foster parents of children who only had a few years until they left the system. They believed that every child should know some stability before going out into the world. Even more than giving me a permanent home, they introduced me to Christ. I didn’t accept Him right away, but, well I had always had this emptiness, like a big hole in my spirit, and when I came to know Christ and invited Him into my life, the hole began to close. It was like I found a whole new family. I was finally adopted into a family of my own. It also gave me a sense of purpose.   The buzzer that ended recreation hour sounded and Isaac had to leave.

Isaac crossed the prison courtyard deep in thought, so deep that he bumped into another inmate almost knocking him down. Before he could say “excuse me,” the fight was on.  By the time the guards pulled the two men apart  Isaac had a black eye and this little fiasco got Isaac a month in solitary confinement.  After a couple of days of confinement, Isaac noticed a small book in the dimly lit corner of the cell that appeared to have a glow to it.
Isaac noticed that the book was a Bible. Although Isaac had seen Bibles  all of his life, this one looked different. It drew him to it like a magnet. As  he opened the book, it started with “The Old Testament.”  Although he had grown up reading the Bible, it was as if he had never seen it before.  As he opened it to the “Old Testament,” he said to himself, how old is old? Isaac read how God created the heavens and the earth and Isaac smiled when God said “Let us make man in our own image and our likeness.” Us? Who is us?  Isaac found it interesting that God would have a conversation with himself.  He turned to the New Testament and  read how God sent Jesus to give life and to be the Light to all of the world.  Isaac saw how faith is vital to the relationship with God for it is impossible to please God without faith. One day  as he read the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah he was astonished to see that Jesus  fulfilled all of the descriptions of a coming messiah The light came on.  Suddenly it made sense.

Little by little, Isaac grew in faith and in the Word of God. Isaac realized that the trials in his life came for a reason. He was persuaded that the valley called prison that he was in, was meant to teach him to call on God and to know God as Abba (Father).  Isaac read about the journey of Jesus. whose life was filled with highs and lows. He thought about how Jesus always prayed and talked to his Father and how we should do likewise, “For man should always pray and not faint.”  Isaac learned in Jesus’ journey, He always depended on his Father for everything and all his needs were met while on his assignment. This blew Isaac away.  Could it all be that all the children of God has an assignment from God?  Isaac pondered this thought for days and nights.  Sleep eluded him.  “What is my journey about?”  he thought, “And what could my assignment be?”

Isaac became so engrossed in reading the Bible that his days in solitary sped by. After his confinement, Isaac attended church whenever he could to hear the word of God for faith comes by hearing and hearing comes from the word of God. One night after Isaac’s evening prayer, in this third year of incarceration, he prayed and sang to God in his daily routine, giving thanks to God for one more day.  Yet this night was different from others.  As he sang, light seem to  illuminate his cell.  He saw the light that one else could see.  A voice spoke  out from the light.  “I am He who looks on the face of God.  Your prayers have come to me, and the answers you seek you will find.  I am sent to direct your path on your journey back home.  As you pass through this faith and glory always remember Jesus, the faithful one.  Keep him on your mind and he will keep you in a perfect peace that surpasses all understanding.  I have been sent to give you wisdom in these matters.”  In Isaac’s silence, all he could think, “I want more of the Lord.” The angel answered his thought and said “Give me all of you.”  Praise filled Isaac’s heart weeping with much joy as the light faded.  Isaac fell into a sweet sleep while giving thanks to God for being his all and all.

Isaac awoke to the sound of blaring alarms. Men were running in the corridors armed with blades and  screaming all kinds of evil from cell to cell.  The smell of fire and smoldering matches filled the prison while the guards could only look on at the melee. Evil had taken the face of these men filled with emptiness, cold hearts, and eyes void of all humanity.  These men felt no purpose for they had lost their way.  As the smell of what now had become an inferno filled the air.  Isaac realized who he is and his assignment right now.  Isaac stepped out of his cell full of faith with the Spirit of God resting on him.  He held up his hands and opened his mouth with all boldness to the awaiting mob, “Peace be still!”  Although Isaac did not think that he had spoken loudly, his voice rang out like a bell and all movement ceased.

“Why are we doing this? This is where we live. These are the people we must live with tomorrow. All of us, including myself are here because we made decisions based on the moment and are now paying for it with our lives! What are we doing? Are we animals?” A voice came from the distance, “They treat us like animals.”  Isaac replied, “Just because they say it doesn’t mean that it is true. We are men, formed in God’s image! We don’t have to let anyone tell us who we are, and we don’t have to let our circumstances define our actions. They can imprison our bodies, but they can’t imprison our minds!”  Killing each other, and killing the guards, will not free us, it will only put us in deeper in the hole. Each man, right now, choose for yourself, Life or Death?” The cell block got so quiet that the silence could be felt. It was if good and evil  were struggling with each other in the atmosphere, and then slowly one by one, the prisoners put down their weapons and began to move toward their cells. As the guards began to handcuff and lead the participants away, the guards and Warden watched in astonishment. No one was more astonished than Isaac. He knew that he had been used by God. He now knew his purpose, and he knew that God answers your prayers no matter where you are. He experienced freedom that he never imagined—surrounded by stone and razor wire. After the riot God’s favor began to manifest itself in Isaac’s life.

Isaac was nervous as he entered the outer room of the Warden’s office. He could not imagine why he had been summoned.  After he was seated the Warden began to speak. He told Isaac that due to overcrowding in the prisons, the state parole board instituted a short time policy. Inmates who had not been convicted of violent crimes that had served more than two-thirds of their term, and had not been disciplined would be released. The Warden told  Isaac that he had seen how he had thwarted the prison riot. The Warden then told Isaac that he would be released in thirty days. Isaac felt faint. He could not believe his ears. He was going to be released, and he knew what he would do with his life. After the meeting with the Warden, Isaac contacted his family—his parents and his brother.  They were all elated and arranged to meet at the prison to bring him home. In the three years since Isaac met his brother, they had become close. John had graduated from seminary and was the youth pastor at a church in a nearby town. Isaac’s parents had welcomed John as their own, and still pastored their church in Isaac’s home town. As the family sat together in Isaac’s favorite restaurant, John offered Isaac a job at his church. Isaac told him he was genuinely grateful for the offer, but it was time for him to go home—If his parents would have him. His parents were elated to have their son come home. They were even more surprised when he told them that he wanted to go to college and study criminal justice counseling so that he could go back to the prison and help others in prison to find their way home. He did not have to go to a seminary to minister. He knew that God had taken him on that journey to show him his purpose, and he promised to glorify God in all that he did. As his family rejoiced so did all of heaven. Jesus smiled and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Published on September 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. what a fabulous story about John and Isaac. I am looking at taking the CASE Institute life coaching course and I wondered if you would recommend it? it certainly looks like you have implemented a life coaching practice. Thank you for any advice you can give me about the program. Beth

    • Thank you for your kind words. I was very satisfied with the instruction I received from the CASE institute. I provided valuable insight not only into Life Coaching but into the business aspect of Coaching. I would recommend it.


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