Pile Driven — part 2

by Brian Crawford
June 2009


I am writing in winter 2009, and it’s been only a couple of months since I wrote “Pile Driven: Part 1” for RED!  In those months since, Satan has tried and still tries to come at me everyday. As hard as he tries, though, I still stand for Christ, and I believe with all my heart, mind, and soul that Christ died not only for me, but for us all.

I know at some point that the truth will set me free, and I must press forward with God’s plan for me. It’s truly amazing how, in a place like prison, God can work miracles and wonders. I think back to when I first arrived here at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. There were a lot of bad things going on in my block. As time has passed, I have seen the Lord work to send people where they need to be, so that they can get help.

There is a group of Christian inmates in my block that pray for not only each other daily, but for all the ones that don’t know or don’t have a relationship with Christ. Through those prayers, we have seen people come to Christ, people changing their ways. We have seen the ministry chapel improve from a once-a-week service to five-days-a-week service. We have stood in the chapel and gathered in a circle prayer with men from every race – gathered together in unity and praying for everyone’s needs and everything. Guys that were once full of hate are now full of love and compassion for Christ.

Things like that are what give me hope and make me realize God put me here for a reason. Yes, I can’t sugarcoat my pain when it comes to my false conviction. I still struggle a lot, knowing I am an innocent man and no one on the outside wants to listen to the facts of my case.

Many days I stand at my window and watch the clouds moving and say, “God, it sure would be nice if you would come through those clouds and take all the Christians to heaven.” But, then I quickly realize it’s in God’s time and not mine. I find myself doing things to keep grounded, like putting photo-copied Bible verses or sayings on my wall, so that when I wake up and go to sleep the first and last thing I see is a reminder of what Christ has done for me. I am constantly putting godly things in my life and it’s getting me through, and I thank God for giving me strength.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling down and asking myself a lot of questions. I prayed and asked God to give me more clarity and to help me fight my depression. The next day a Christian brother gave me a book with some scriptures, and I was lead to these verses from the book of Psalms: chapter 37:7-8, chapter 39:2, chapter 42:5-6 & 11, chapter 55:4-8, 16-17 & 22, chapter 56:3-4, and chapter 94:19. I hope that each of you will read these verses because they gave me great comfort and hope.

After reading these passages, I felt the clarity I had asked for. Like I wrote in my last essay for RED!, I can never doubt God, so what was this feeling I had? It’s called “emotional doubt,” which, I found, is most common among Christians. You see, I exhibit many signs of love and belief for Christ, but due to what I’m going through, I’m suffering inside and just have not yet grasped how to deal with it.

So, how do I remedy this situation? Well, for starters, in the book of Philippians, chapter 4:6-9, the passage says to replace our anxieties with prayer and thanksgiving. I have to exchange my worrisome thoughts with God’s truth. When I was first incarcerated, I was told a story of a platoon of World War II soldiers that, every morning, woke up and recited Psalm 91 together. The story came to be that out of all the platoons, that particular platoon was the only one with no casualties. Why do you think that was the case? I can tell you: it was God.

In my first year in prison, I recited Psalm 91 every day, and thus far I’ve been protected. Today, I read a book written “just for me” from God: 66 books of love, grace, mercy, wisdom, and so much more. I love the Lord. I pray and pray and pray some more. I have developed a relationship with the Lord and he is walking with me every day and night. No matter how bad it gets for me, I know all I have to do is look up. He is always there, and there is no comfort better than God.

Sure, I will still hurt and suffer from being away from my wife and kids, but God is taking care of them, too. Since I have been in prison, all four of my kids and my nephew have come to Christ and love going to church. God is working; he has a plan for us all. We just have to let go and give it to him. Remember, God is still holding onto us even when we slip.

As I wait for my appeals and for God’s plan to be accomplished, I will continue to plant seeds in others’ lives. I’m a quiet guy, many say, but I have found ways to speak when it comes to Christ. I have even found ways to quietly minister in prison by having Bible readings sent in and I spread the word in many ways, hoping that something in those readings will spark interest in a prison in real need.

Now, I’m an inmate that still listens to other inmates, and still yet I try to help them find the help they need in Christ. Prison has not changed my heart. I’ve loved the Lord from Day One. It breaks my heart to think what is in store for the ones that don’t know Christ. But, I’ll continue to pray and help the ones that I can.

We are all God’s children. As for my wife and kids, I love them so much, and I look forward to the day I can come home and we can all walk through those church doors together and praise the Lord. The title of this essay is “PILE DRIVEN”; sometimes I feel like I have just gotten “pile driven”. But, just like when I used to wrestle professionally, I have to get up. I have to get up and stand strong. You have to be driven to do God’s will. I know that now and I believe it.

I will stand strong until the day comes when that truth sets me free. It says in the Bible that if you have the faith of a mustard seed you can move a mountain. So, mountain, get ready because I have that faith. If you are reading this and you don’t know God, just give him a chance and you will see the difference. I am living a nightmare right now, but I’m free with God in my life. Even if I don’t make it out of here, I know there’s a place called heaven for me and I’ll see all my loved ones there.

To you, reader: take that step, take that leap of faith. God is waiting for you. Bless you all.

Thank you for reading my story, Parts “One” and “Two”.