by Scott Hall
March 2010

This is my testimony of the redeeming power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  By the grace of God and God alone, I am alive to give one example of how my affliction led from Common Grace to Saving Grace.

I am the youngest of five children. We lived in a typical Christian household, other than the fact that my father drank a bit.  As a child, I remember going to church with my mother every Sunday.  I knew the name Jesus, but I didn't know Him as my Lord and Savior.  The only way I can describe myself at that point in my life is what the Bible describes as being blind. I'm sure that my church had taught me the Word of God, but I was not ready to accept the gift of salvation.  This acceptance would come by chastisement from God.  It was by His Grace that He has shown me true life in Christ.

Although I was brought up in the church, that didn't exclude me from getting myself into trouble. When I was thirteen I began to act up.  This might not have been so bad had the police not been involved.  I was once questioned about a camp fire that my brother and I had made in the woods by our house, which resulted in being charged with arson.  For punishment the judge placed me on probation.  This was the beginning of a chain of events that landed me in hot water, time and time again.

At sixteen my brother introduced me to marijuana.  At that time I didn't think that for the next eight years I would habitually abuse the drug, or that it would have such a negative effect on my life.  

At the age of seventeen I had my first drink.  First I didn't like it, but that would soon change.  Partying became more important to me than school, family, and my spiritual well being.  It wasn't long after I started to use drugs that the morals that were instilled in me at a young age diminished.

Plans for my future were the furthest thing from my mind.  I thought it would be a good idea to quit school and start woking; my excuse was so I could support my newborn daughter.  So I earned my GED and started working at a local freight company.  Through the course of my employment I used a variety of different pain killers and continued to heavily abuse marijuana and drinking.  

At the time I thought life was great and I was in control.  What I had failed to realize is that my excuse for quitting school was just that:  AN EXCUSE.

Most of my income went towards my drug addiction.  The only standard I had at that point was the promise that I would never do hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, or crack.  I ended up doing all but one, heroin.  At the time I didn't understand why or how I abstained, out of all the times I was offered heroin.

Early one morning after one of my coke-fueled all-nighters, I lay in bed praying to God, asking him to keep me alive just one more time.  It was the usual,"I will never do it again," just to turn around the next weekend and break my promise.  

Another time I recall waking to the sound of my mother crying.  I felt so cold-hearted, and the worst part was I didn't care.  It wasn't until a few years later that she told me why she was crying.  She told me she had been up most all night praying for me, and said she prayed that God would keep me through the night.  My mother feared that her youngest son was going to die of an overdose.

By the age of nineteen, I had done enough drugs to kill a small army.  This all culminated when I got into trouble for stealing marijuana from a drug dealer. For this I was once again placed on probation for one to five years, and given a one to five year suspended prison sentence.  For the next three years, I was in and out of drug treatment facilities.  I learned that I didn't want to change, and I objected to everything the treatment center had taught me.  My use was at an all-time high, and my life was out of control. I had spent three years using drugs and dodging drug tests from my probation officer.

The years of drug abuse, drinking and crime had caught up with me.  I was tired, not just physically, but spiritually.  It was late August 2007, and I was in a small church in North Fairfield, Ohio.  I knelt down before the altar and prayed to God asking Him to take away the trouble I had caused.  I poured my heart out, asking Hime to reveal Himself to me.  It wasn't just "I'm sorry", it was more of a cry for help knowing that I was not capable of changing myself or the situation I had gotten myself into.  

After I prayed I went to the basement of the church to read the Bible. Little did I know this would be the last memory of freedom, and that the very word freedom would take on a whole new meaning.  In the middle of reading the Word, I saw someone moving outside the window.  Much to my surprise, it was a cop.  My pastors came down after talking to the officer and confirmed what I had already known.  He was looking for me to question me about a crime I had committed a few months earlier.  The first thing that came to our minds was to seek God.  This was it.  I was finally going to just have faith and trust God to take care of this whole situation.

I went outside to speak to the officer who took me to the Sheriff station for questioning.  While I was sitting there being questioned, I felt the spirit move me to not hold back.  I could not lie.  See, my God is a God of integrity, who asks us to show the same honesty no matter what the consequences.  If He is for you, who can be against you?  He will never give you more than you can handle.  Looking back on this whole situation, I know that the old Scott Hall could never be accountable for his actions.

By that time I had given my probation officer more than enough ways that I had violated my probation, and after three months in the county jail, I was sentenced to three years in prison.  

God didn't take away all of my troubles, but through Christ I was given the strength to be accountable for my actions.  God doesn't always give you what you want, but He will always give you what you need.  It was through affliction that God drew me closer to Him.  It's only because of Him that I can stand here with boldness knowing that In Him I am a new creature.  It is only by His grace that In the midst of life's storms we can take refuge in Him.

Prison Life

Fear-stricken and tired, I was transported ot Lorain Correctional Institution (LORCI).  After the long ride to prison, the only thing I wanted was sleep. Due to the fact that I was a new prisoner, I had to be processed.  This consisted of a strip search, hair cut, mug shot, and a short medical exam.

Once the intake process was over, I was put in a reception dorm and placed in a cell for 22 hours a day.  I have to be honest.  This was not as bad as it sounds; this is where I connected with God.  I had a bible and all the time n the world to feast on the Word of God.  

One of the biggest things God had taught me in that cell was forgiveness.

First I had to come to terms with my situation and the fact that I had put myself in prison.  I was forgiven and I needed to forgive myself.  After this the Lord put it on my heart to start to forgive others even if they had not forgiven me.  I am ordered to love even if the feelings aren't mutual.  I can honestly say, "I have been forgiven and any ill feeling I had for people in the past is gone."  This is only because of what God has done for a sinner like me.  With Christ I am now able to face this life with the boldness and confidence of Christ.

I was only in LORCI for a short time.  After about two months I was informed I would be riding out to Richland Correctional Institution (RICI) in Mansfield, Ohio.  I was so ready to get a change in atmosphere and leave the confinement of a cell.  I was very excited about going to this prison after hearing of all the programs like college, music and church.  I felt in my heart that God had good things for me at my new residence.  Once I arrived at RICI I started going to all the Bible classes that my schedule would allow.

I joined the FCA and met a group of guys that encouraged me in my walk. God was doing more in me than I ever expected.  By that point He had shown me that the old life that I had once lived was gone.  Psalms 103:12 says, "As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us".  That is beyond any human comprehension, but I accept that with a grateful heart.  He has shown me that I no longer need to serve anyone or anything but Him, and that the changes that had occured in my life were the result of His doing, because apart from God not a single work done is good.  

I often reflect back on my visits in the county jail with Pastor Linda Masters. I will never forget the scripture she showed me in Ephesians 3:20 which states, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us."  I reflect back on the trials I've had and how far God has brought me.  It's been a great walk with the Lord.  He has carried me through some good times and bad.  I have the reassurance that if I continue to seek Him, He will do EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY above all I could ever ask or imagine.

In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul describes who I was outside of Christ.  He says we are dead;  we once walked in disobedience according to the prince of the power of the air, fulfilling the lust of our flesh, and were called children of wrath.  Paul goes on to tell us that we were shown grace when when we were in our sin.  Paul says we as believers have been quickened together in Christ.  We now have fellowship with God the Father through our Savior Jesus Christ.  We, as believers, have been given the free gift of salvation, and Christ's righteousness is imputed unto us.  

It is very true that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.  Up until this time, I had never felt the Lord's presence envelope me.  Being in the palm of our sovereign Lord's hand is an awesome and comforting place to be.