My friend Big Ben is a lifer, a dear man who has served some 40 years all because of a foolish moment in his young life. He's a beautiful Christian, and there's really no reason to keep him and many others like him in prison. But that is another matter.
Big Ben informed me the other day that he was recently called on to preach the sermon at the church in prison. He told me about the passage that had chosen
He went on to tell the congregation about an incident that happened on the floor of the prison gymnasium. He said he was playing a pick-up game of 21 with this guy, and went in for a rebound. When he came down, he slightly brushed his fellow player across the bridge of his nose with an elbow. He said the man went down like a 50-pound sack of potatoes. "I thought he was joking," said Big Ben, "because in my mind I had hardly touched him. But when he lifted his head up, blood was gushing from his nose and his mouth. Naturally I was apologizing profusely, but understandably he didn't want to hear anything of it."
The story didn't end there.
Big Ben didn't see the guy for a few days...but one day he came running up to him, smiling, and hugging him. He was naturally taken aback, and tried to figure out why the change in attitude.
Well as it turns out, the guy's nose had been broken before, and had never healed properly. As a result, he was having a difficult time breathing, and was bothering his bunk-mates with obnoxious snoring. The act of re-breaking his nose actually resulted in the bone re-positioning itself and correcting the man's breathing problem. He was no longer miserable with breathing issues, his snoring stopped, and he was happy.
Big Ben said he concluded the sermon by pointing out that, while he had no conscious part of it, God chose that particular time and place to anoint him with the gift of a healing spirit, and used his body to help relieve the suffering of someone else.
Not bad, Big Ben.
Not bad at all.