April 23, 2008 It's dusk. The house is quiet. I turn on the radio for a little background music. What I hear, however, instead of music, is a voice I know I've heard before but don't place immediately.
"A friend gave me a book and told me to read it," says the voice. "It was just a
little book—called Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. It changed my life."
"C.S. Lewis." I had known bits and pieces about Lewis—had probably forgotten more than I remembered—until recently when someone had refreshed my memory. "Lewis—the Oxford University professor who had called himself 'the reluctant convert', whose investigative mind had insisted he run everything he had read about Jesus of Nazareth through a sieve of sorts, figuring he had three options—to believe that Jesus was a lunatic, a liar, or indeed the Lord God."
By now, I recognize the voice, and remember the story. Chuck Colson of Watergate notoriety is telling his story. At 39, he had been successful, articulate, and on the fast track to success. He'd had casual, daily access to the White House, walking in and out with confidence... until he abused his position and got caught.
He spent time in prison for his part in the scandal, but after reading Lewis' little book he also came to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, who took the broken pieces of his life and used him for a special work. Who, after all, could have been more uniquely qualified to head up Prison Fellowship?
To the strains of "Because He lives I can face tomorrow"... and "He made something beautiful from my life" (which the station is playing immediately following Colson's story), I'm sitting down to share that with the rest of you. I think that could qualify as an example of failing forward.