I knew just about every detail of the case. Every scrap of evidence pointed to cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder.
One man took a gun and shot another man point blank.
Then he ran.
He hid for awhile but eventually somebody started talking and the police took him into custody and gave him a first degree murder charge.
His bail was set – a half a million dollars. He never walked out of the jail again after that day.
I was working as an interpreter in the court system at that time. For over a year, I became deeply involved in this man’s life, though he never knew it. I had to listen to hour after hour after hour of recorded calls between the accused man and his friends and family. When he thought he was the only one in the argument with his dad, I was listening. When he was begging his sisters to put up money on his behalf, I was listening. And when he broke down in tears to his wife, I was listening to this hardened gang member sob out his fears of being forgotten and abandoned in a prison somewhere.
It was a long and arduous trial, but at last it ended. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
My job was done, and I moved onto the next case.
Or so I thought.
For some reason I just couldn’t put this man out of my head. Snippets of those broken, tearful conversations would pop into my head at the most random times. I ran into one of his family members once and felt awkward because I had heard many of her conversations with the inmate. She was unaware that I knew so much about their relationship. I dreamed about him frequently.
At last in frustration, I cried out to God, “Why is this man – this hard criminal – this murderer constantly on my mind??”
Then my God, my Father, the Lover of my Soul spoke deeply and kindly, “Because I love him. Because I want him to love me. Because I have placed you in his path for a reason. To me he is precious and I long for him – not because of who he is or what he has done, but because I made him and I paid the price for him. I have had a plan for him since I formed him in his mother’s womb, and it is still there. I long to cleanse and redeem him and reveal to him a new life that only I can give.”
And since that day I have prayed for him. Sometimes God wakes me up in the middle of the night. Urgently. Pray, beloved. Pray that his eyes will be opened, that his heart will be softened, that he will know that I am God.
Adrian, even if you never know, I will still pray. Even if there is no one else in this world standing in the gap for you, I will stand. Even if I never know the fruit of my prayers until we reach heaven, I will carry on.
God loves murderers, so I do too.