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The Devil's Smile Wiped Away

Written by: William Scott Jones

Mid to late November 1960, a woman was fixing her 6-year-old son breakfast at the table of a brand new Jim Walter home in the farming community of Home Branch, outside of Manning South Carolina. While his mother Ruth rolled out dough for biscuits, the boy was repetitively attempting to quote John 3:16 in preparation for a Sunday school class assignment. The most amazing thing happened the first time the young boy recited the revelation of God's love and his greatest promise flawlessly: God's perfect love filled the woman's heart, overflowing to the boy, even to the tiny kitchen itself; making the plane country woman glow with beauty, and their simple wooden home seem like a mansion.

Though he could not be seen with the natural eye, someone else was there on that crisp beautiful November morning. His objective was to steal kill and destroy. When the adversary looked into the boy's spirit a big smile came on his face for there he spied a great weakness; inside of Mama's sweet little boy lay a powerful addictive personality. The prince of the power of the air would use addiction coupled with compulsive behavior to put the boy in spiritual bondage and keep him in prison his whole life. Striking another blow for his evil Kingdom, by plundering The Souls of God's precious children! The devil had a big smile on his face all the way to the next stop.

The summer of 1970 was a beast, the heat pursued one wherever they went. This only made matters worse, when the call came from her beloved son, in whom she had such high hopes, had been arrested at 16 for stealing a car. There was no money for bail. She did without so that the boy she loved dearly could have the things he needed. Where did she fail? Her hands were shaking when she bowed her already graying head to pray. A smile split the evil one's face as he drank, like nectar, the misery of the woman's broken heart.

Thirty years later, the father of lies sat in an empty jury box in the Orangeburg County Courthouse. The solicitor pointed to the boy who was now a middle-aged man that had been beaten down by a lifetime of addiction, incarceration, hurt, and severe personal failure. “Your honor, please take a good look at the defendant. This is the person our esteemed colleagues had in mind when the legislators passed the three strikes law.” Throughout his jury trial, the boy tried to maintain a cool demeanor, but inside, he was scared and his heart was breaking. If the court found him guilty, the sentence would be life without parole. When the verdict was read, the devil had a big smile on his face. When asked if he had anything to say before the sentence was imposed, taking a deep breath, the boy looked the judge straight in the eye and said, “Sir please, you do not have to sentence me to life without parole for a nonviolent crime. I have been an addict my whole life, but I'm not really a bad person. Please give me one more chance.” With a sad look on his face, Judge Williams sentenced the boy to Natural Life in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. The devil had a big smile on his face as the gavel fell on the boy.

In March of 2001, the woman lay in a hospital bed, she knew it was her time. The Lord had blessed her with 84 wonderful years. This day she would see the face of the one she loved, King Jesus. She gathered herself one last time to pray, asking God to provide for and protect her precious boy, and one day help him find the pearl of great price. The ancient serpent was there when the woman prayed her last prayer for the boy. She had spent a life praying meddlesome, hindering prayers. Now, he would have his way with the boy, without God interfering on behalf of the woman's intercession. That brought a sinister smile to his face.

In early December 2001, in cell number 8 of Stono unit, Lieber Correctional Institution, the boy was at a low point spiritually, mentally, and physically. The slanderer was there and looking to land a killing blow. He spoke directly to the boy's mind, “Do you have any idea how worthless you truly are? What a sorry excuse for a human being. Why don't you just kill yourself? Mama and Daddy are gone, you did not care anything about them when they were here, look at how you hurt them. Nobody cares anything about you now, in fact, they are going to end up killing you, might as well get you a good blade and take someone with you, at least you will still be a man.” The ruler of darkness of this age had a big smile on his face as he held on to the boy's mind like a bulldog.

The verse that the boy hid in his heart, so many years ago, resonated in his Spirit with such power, his emotions overwhelmed him. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 HCSB). The 59-year-old loser rolled over in his mind and heart the fact that God's love was expressed in the giving of his most priceless gift, Emmanuel. When the boy cried out to the Lord, “Help me I'm dying!” Jesus spoke directly to the boy's heart, “You are not going to die, you have just begun to live.” Instantly, the boy knew the voice of the Shepherd and that all the things his mother had told him about Jesus were true. The woman had crossed over the Jordan 12 long years before, but her prayers lived on, and on December 15, 2013, the Lord Jesus personally came for her son. The devil was there that day, his smile was wiped away.

After a lifetime of looking for the ultimate high, the boy finally found Him. Jesus gave him His peace and set him free. After seven glorious years of walking with the Lord, the boy knows true happiness flying high above the circumstances and the fences on the wings of faith, hope, and love. Entrusted to share HOPE with the men behind the doors and in the hospice/palliative care unit at Lee County Prison, God lives inside the boy and for the first time true happiness belongs to him.

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