Boy, have I heard some good stories over the years! One really sticks out in my mind and I doubt that I will ever forget it. This is Spider’s mind-boggling story as he told it to me.
Spider was obviously not his real name but was his street and prison name. Ricky was his given name. I met him years ago at Moberly (a prison opened in 1963), while on a Bill Glass Weekend of Champions. I was there as a teammate and assigned to that prison the entire weekend. Back then we went in on a Friday, stayed all day, went back on Saturday for the whole day, and finished with a half day on Sunday.
Many times on these outreaches the Lord would lead me to a person He wanted me to encourage and I would spend quite a bit of time with that person. This particular weekend, He led me to Spider. That’s the name he was known by throughout the Missouri prison system. Probably because of the big spider tattooed on his neck. Spider had been locked up most of his life and had done time in multiple prisons in the state.
We knew a lot of the same people on the streets, so we hit it off right away. He asked me to come with him to his house (his cell). Bill Glass Ministries had tremendous favor with prisons back then, so on those weekends we pretty much could go anywhere we wanted, including the cell houses where the men lived.
When we got to his cell, Spider wanted to talk about his relationship with Jesus. He had given his life to the Lord before his release from prison the previous time.
“I want to show you something,” he said as he opened up the little box where he kept all his personal belongings. Spider took out a Bible and told me that he hardly ever looked at it anymore. When I questioned him about it, this is what he told me.
The last time he had been released from prison, he was excited to go to church in the free world. His first Sunday on the streets, he found what he thought would be a good church to attend. When he started up the steps, an usher dressed in a three-piece suit stepped out of the front door. Spider was halfway up the steps when the man stopped him. “You can’t come in here dressed like that”, he said. Spider told me he was wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. The jeans were torn at the knees and his arms were covered with ink. I guess he didn’t fit in.
Spider never went to church again and had been back in prison for a while. I wonder how many other inmates have been treated the same?
God have mercy on us for turning away someone who loves You and wants to worship You! Oh, that we could see people through YOUR eyes and not ours. Psalms 24:3-4 says, Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord and stand in His presence? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. God looks at the heart.
Please pray for the inmates in prison and those getting released.
In HIS grip,