Glenn was faced with 20 years in prison. I met him while on staff at the jail.
I noted Glenn carrying a Bible to his stint at the laundry. "Why are you reading that?" I asked as the devil's advocate, having never conversed with Glenn prior.
"Because it helps me," he said low-key.
"Good," I responded, then went my way.
On another day, I asked Glenn the same question. Still on another day. Then I finally whispered to him: "I am like you... a believer."
That opened up our friendship that has lasted now for years.
"Though faced with 20 years boxed up in a cell, the more I read from this Book, the more the outside world recedes. I've got to the place that I really don't care any more how much time I get. Twenty years? So be it.," Glenn confided.
He told me that the night he was jailed, he fell to his knees in the cell. "If there is a God, help me. My life is over." With that he opened his eyes to see the Bible in the corner of his cell. He started reading it - for the first time in his life.
By the time I had met him, he had read through the Word three times.
It was Glenn's simple testimony to me about the outside world receding as he drew closer to God that underlined again how significant it is for a believer to find time for "alone with God."
Life is too hurried. We are committed too much to the temporary. Our material sphere impinges upon our souls too much. Therefore, we make Christian professions of faith and peace that are often truthfully void of the reality.
I was sick for a time frame in which I could not do anything but be still. I listened to my favorite music. I thought at lot. And I talked to God much of the time, alone with God.
The more I made for "alone with God," the more the outside world that previously had torn me apart receded. It no longer controlled my nerves. It no longer mastered my motives. I was sensing a cleansing of the soul from the "alone with God."
I believe that the worldwide church could experience a season of refreshment beyond our imaginations if every believer made more time for "alone with God." God is waiting on us. He is forever attentive. All He needs is for us to turn our attentions in His direction.
Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in with him to fellowship with him."
"Alone with God" affords that opening the door to Jesus' soothing presence.
Some months after first meeting Glenn in that jailhouse hallway, I chatted with him again.
"How's it going?" I asked.
"I am to be released this coming spring. That would add up to less than a year imprisoned!" How did it come about that he did not have to serve the 20 years? There is only one explanation: his lawyer God.
As we talked more about his release, I counseled him with reality: "Remember, Glenn, that the recitative rate is high for inmates to return behind bars. I don't want that to happen to you."
He had a history of drug addiction, alcoholism and other damaging lifestyles. Satan was ready to suction him back into all that.
However, the years have now passed and Glenn has not gone back to the dark side. Instead, he has read through his Bible seven times at present. He is faithful to worship, even teaching a Bible class at his neighborhood church.
He has married, built his family a lovely country home by the riverside and earned a degree at the community college.
One constant has remained in Glenn's schedule. It is his "alone with God" slot. He has never wavered for he knows that that is the power source for his healthy life in Christ.
So it is with us all.
J. Grant Swank Jr.