Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

October 9, 2010

The Fugutive and The Deacon

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I answered the telephone. “Preacher, it’s Johnny.  I’m ready to give myself up.  But I will only surrender to you.  Will you come meet me?”

A conversation took place about what he had done, my willingness to help, and the location where he was.  I called a young, newly ordained deacon to go with me, and we headed to another city about 25 miles away.

But let me not get ahead of myself.  Shortly after we had moved to a new church, I responded to a knock at the carport door of the pastorium.  A young man stood there bleeding from his head.  He introduced himself and told me that his wife had thrown a can of soda at him.  She was in a rage, and he asked if I would go with him to see if I could help.

I knew nothing of the couple’s background, and they did not know me.  They lived only a few blocks away and out of desperation, he had come to the new pastor in town. My visit that Saturday afternoon began a relationship . . . and I must say a friendship.  

The family got involved in the church. A short time later,  Johnny lost his job.  Depression set in.  I visited the home one evening.  I became suspicious that drugs were being used.  Johnny, with great guilt, admitted so.  His wife became angry and shouted that it was none of my business.  With that rage, she threw the can of Coke she was drinking straight at me.  As I ducked, it broke the window and landed outside.  She was obviously on something even that moment.

Almost immediately with the breaking of the window,  local and federal agents burst through the front and back doors.  They had believed that much illegal activity was master-minded at this home.  I believe when they observed my dress and demeanor as I came to the home that perhaps I was part of the activity.  Of course, it only took a few minutes to straighten the matter out.  They even realized that Johnny was not a ring leader of drug dealers.

However, because the wife was obviously under the influence of drugs, they inquired, and found some drugs.  Because of Johnny’s background in drugs, he was arrested.  After several days of incarceration, law enforcement made arrangements not to charge Johnny if he would help them break up a drug ring.  Johnny agreed.

In a few days, they provided money for Johnny to buy drugs from a primary source.  Johnny seemingly was determined to follow the plan.  But, somewhere in the saga, Johnny got scared.  He feared, evidently, to meet the primary dealer.  He then fled with the money.  Immediately he became a wanted fugitive.  For several days a search was made for him, but to no avail.

And now that telephone call came to me from Johnny.  He told me where in the distant city we could meet.  So with the deacon, we headed for our rendezvous.  I could not call law enforcement and betray the trust Johnny had placed in me.  Yet, he knew me well enough that I would take him to the sheriff’s department in another county where he had been held in jail.

When we arrived at the appointed place, Johnny was very repentant and sorry for his actions.  Indeed, he had become frightened for his life.  He knew he had been foolish to take the money and spend much of it the last couple of days.  He was agreeable, as he had said over the phone, for me to take him in.

I asked him to ride with me and let the deacon drive his car.  He would not consent.  It was obvious he did not want to be in the same car with me.  So we agreed he would drive his car with the young deacon riding with him. 

The deacon readily expressed his concerns when he realized that Johnny had a gun.  Johnny refused to give me the gun, but assured us that he would leave it in the back seat.  With all of us uneasy about the conversation, we did agree.

We made the trip to the sheriff’s office, and Johnny walked in like a man.  I was proud of his willingness, but so disappointed in what had transpired.  The result was several months in prison. 

Johnny was one of those special people in my life.  I loved Johnny . . . but suffered inwardly that the hope I had for him and the family was not fulfilled.

Such disappointments happen to parents . . . and others who love.  Loving others can be risky.  You can get hurt and disappointed.  But we should never let it cause us to stop loving!

My God is often disappointed in me, I am sure.  But never has He stopped loving me.  In spite of all . . . He loves me with a depth that I will never understand.  How I hope I can love others with just a portion of how God loves me.

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)  “Give thanks to the Lord for he  is good; his love endures forever.”  (Psalm 106:1)  “How priceless is your unfailing love.”  (Psalm 36:7)  “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  (Jeremiah 31:3)



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