The man seemed beyond redemption. His crimes included eight shootings (killing six) and starting nearly 1,500 fires that terrorized New York City in the 1970s. He left letters at his crime scenes taunting the police, and he was eventually apprehended and given consecutive sentences of twenty-five years to life for each murder.
Yet God reached down to this man. Today he is a believer in Christ who spends time daily in the Scriptures, has expressed deep regret to his victims’ families, and continues to pray for them. Although imprisoned for more than four decades, this man who seemed beyond redemption finds hope in God and claims, “My freedom is found in one word: Jesus.”
Scripture tells of another unlikely conversion. Before he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul (who later became the apostle Paul) was “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1). Yet Paul’s heart and life were transformed by Jesus (vv. 17–18), and he became one of the most powerful witnesses for Him in history. The man who once plotted the death of Christians devoted his life to spreading the hope of the gospel.
Redemption is always a miraculous work of God. Some stories are more dramatic, but the underlying truth remains the same: None of us deserve His forgiveness, yet Jesus is a powerful Savior! He “[saves] completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25).
Dear Jesus, thank You for loving us so much You died to bring us into a relationship with You.
While Saul was on the way to Damascus, Jesus spoke to him from a heavenly light. Afterward he was blind for three days (Acts 9:8–9). We’re not told why or how Saul was blinded. It may have been a natural consequence of the light, or it may have been a supernatural occurrence. But it’s interesting that it was through Ananias that his sight was restored. While God caused the blindness, He chose to remove it through a person. Sometimes God works in unexpected ways.