By: Ronald Cox

I could tell you all about when I was young and what happened to me, but that’s not really my testimony.

I could tell you about how much I lost because of my sin, but that too is not my testimony.

I could tell you I was in the bottom of the pit of hell, but that’s not my testimony either.

I do want to tell you that when I was eight years old I gave my life to Christ, and they told me then that Jesus would never leave me nor forsake me.

When the gavel dropped and the judge said, “Guilty” … I thought my life was over.  And I felt forsaken.

While I was sitting in my holding cell at Oakland County, Michigan – feeling sorry for myself and thinking life was over for me as I knew it – a man came to me and asked me if I knew who Jesus was.

I thought to myself:  This is all I need right now.  A jail house preacher!

So as sarcastically as I could, I said, “Yes! – I know Jesus.”

He answered back excitedly, “Wow!  I have been looking all over trying to find someone who knew Jesus.  Would you please tell me about Him?!”

I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say.

So I just started to tell him about Jesus.  It was like God had me instantly plugged in to Him again.

I told him about Jesus and how much He loved him – that He died for just such a time as this – so His blood could wash him clean of his sins and qualify him for heaven.

God started speaking to me in that my life wasn’t over.  It was just beginning!

And we both said the sinner’s prayer that day!

God told me afterwards that He sent that man to lead me back to Him. I thought I was helping to save his soul.  But God sent him to save MY soul.

They shipped me to Jackson, Michigan.  There in my cell I just couldn’t get enough of Jesus.  I just kept reading the Bible (His Word) over and over and over.

Everyone told me that I wouldn’t stay in my district because of my age.  Thus I found myself on a bus to go up across the bridge separating southern Michigan and northern Michigan.  That was the best place for me because my wife had started to divorce me.

When the time came for her to go before the judge to sign the papers to end the marriage … she couldn’t sign them.

The judge suggested to her a legal separation — it would give her more time to think.

In my first year in prison God started dealing with me in a big way.  He told me I was in a house of mirrors and I was to watch and learn.  In those mirrors I saw:  Pride – arrogance – lack of self control – blaming others – rebellion to authority.  Boy –  that was me!

While God was working on me there, He was also working on my wife.  He was showing her the godly man that was inside me that was being formed.

“It was like God was telling me to wait,” she said.  So she did.

One day my brother and his wife drove eight hours to come see me.  Low and behold … who do you think was with them?  My wife!

They stayed two days and then on the way back, my brother told me later that he told my wife, “You don’t drive hours one way to see someone you don’t still care for.”

Things started to change big time after that.

As I grew in faith, her faith grew strong also, but now we were in the same garden being watered by the same Master.

I know I haven’t said anything about what brought me to prison.  That’s because that’s not my testimony.  My past is not my future.  It’s my past, forgiven by God.  My testimony is not about me and what I’ve done and now forgiven for.  It’s what GOD has done for me!

Jesus wanted to birth obedience in my life.  Too many times I said, “What you see is what you get.”  That is because I didn’t want to change.  But Jesus tells us – “Whoever has My commandments and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.” (John: 14:21)

There is always a connection in the scriptures between love and obedience.  “If you love me you will keep My commandments.”  (John 14:15)

I now understand that if we say we truly love God we will show it by our obedience to His Word.

The standard we need to follow is the relationship Jesus has with the Father.

We need to make sure what we say is what we do.

I have to remember that God without Ron is still God, but Ron without God is nothing and condemned to spend eternity in hell.

Now that I look back on how I was when my sins sent me to prison, I can truly say it is well with my soul.  When they took all my clothes and made me look like everyone else in prison – when they took all my rights away and gave them to the state – all of that too is well with my soul.

Satan hits me daily because he wants to try to keep control, just like with all Christians.  He likes to remind me frequently that I put myself here because I wouldn’t listen to God and what He was telling me in His Word to do.  Though he’s right, I can’t change all that, and I have to remind myself my past is washed in the shed blood of Jesus … but it is well with my soul.

Why?  Because I cried out to my Lord.  I cried with a broken heart and with a repentant soul.  Jesus came into my life and forgave me of my sins.  God came in and brought peace beyond my understanding.  He brought love back into my life.  He brought back things I thought were gone forever.  He took me in a way I had never been before.  He brought me by the way ofunconditional love.  When you need this kind of love, that’s when He can teach you how to give.  I will never walk alone again and that is truly well with my soul.

Only when you have God’s peace in you can you give it to others.  Who are you to say that life is over when you fall into sin?  I feel so in love with my Savior that nothing is impossible in Him.  Yes, even though I’m still in prison (2012), and still held away from my family, it is well with my soul.

My “old man” is dead and I’m a new creation in Christ. The “new man” God has created in me is the person that matters now.  I was left with my dreams torn apart and a broken heart, but God has given me new dreams.  He’s given me a new heart.  Not a mended heart, but a brand new heart!

I’m free – free to dream again.  I’m free to have the love of my wife again.  I’m free to have the love of my family again.  I free to be who God truly created me to be.  No – I’ll never walk alone again.

YES … it is well with my soul.