Wayne was seriously suicidal. He planned to end his life that very night. He was in prison, in trouble again, and he could only see one way out.
Young Wayne had been in trouble pretty much as long as he could remember. His dad was a career thief who had stolen anything from mobile phones to top of the range speed boats. Wayne says,
“I wanted to please my father, who was something of an expert at this art, and so I did what he asked me to do. In return, dad would give me a good wage for a young guy starting out in life.”
The young Wayne became quite an expert himself in a number of criminal fields, but his speciality was stealing expensive vehicles for ‘customers’ who were desperate to obtain the latest versions which tended to be in short supply from legitimate dealers. In the late 1990‘s he stole Range Rovers ‘to order.’ One of his boldest moves was to take one from a garage forecourt!
“I noted down the vehicle vin number while posing as a customer, and then I was able to obtain a duplicate key from the dealer. I went back when the garage was closed to customers and just opened the door, got in, and started up.”
The cleaner who was brushing up the forecourt found his brazen attitude so convincing that he even moved another car out of the way so that Wayne could drive off easily! They gave each other a one handed ‘thank you’ wave, and Wayne drove the vehicle away. His father took it into his workshop and did the ‘ringing’. He cut out the section with the vin number on and replaced it with a cloned one from another vehicle with the same specification. It was then sold to an unsuspecting purchaser. This was typical of the scams which gave them a very good living.
Wayne knew that this kind of stuff was wrong, but he had conditioned his mind to accept that it was ok. After all, all of this stuff was insured, so nobody would really lose out would they? That was how he reasoned away the guilt. But then, eventually, he was caught. After his first offence he got off with a caution. Then the cautions became fines and short sentences. But eventually, Wayne ended up with a longer sentence in a rough prison. He was very unhappy and became depressed.
Saved by an Angel
Sitting in his cell one night in Wormwood Scrubbs, Wayne was feeling very low. In fact, he felt suicidal. He felt like he had let so many people down, including himself. It wasn’t so difficult to end your life it you really wanted to do it and he was serious about doing it. But his thoughts were interrupted when a friendly prisoner he had never seen before walked into Wayne’s cell. It was association time and so the cell doors were all open. The guy introduced himself, sat down, and just started talking. The man said that he wasn’t supposed to be in this prison, but he was taking a stop over because the journey was too far to get him to the right prison in one day. The friendly guy said he was a Christian and told Wayne that he should pray and give his life to Jesus, then God would give him strength to get through every problem and challenge. They prayed together and Wayne felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from him. The visitor said that he had been sent to Wormwood Scrubbs that night just to talk to Wayne. After the man left, Wayne closed his door and had a really good night’s sleep.
The next morning Wayne woke up feeling great. He felt like a new man and felt positive about life knowing that God was now helping him. He went out into the hallway and found a prison officer. Anxious to talk more with the man who had helped him the previous evening, Wayne asked where he was. But the officer looked very puzzled. “Nobody came in last night,” he replied, “Nobody of that description is here and nobody of that description has ever been here.” Wayne asked if he was sure, but the officer was absolutely certain. Nobody came onto the wing the previous evening.
Wayne started to keep company with Christians and he soon shared his story with those he felt comfortable with. They could only come to one logical conclusion, that an angel had come to visit him that night. It says in the bible:
‘Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’ Hebrews 1:14
The Power of Music.
The supernatural visit was just the start. It took some time and a lot of help and determination to change the ways of the young man who had really only known how to make a living one way – from crime. But Wayne was able to change his ways, with help.
The first thing that helped was when a Christian music organisation called Changing Tunes started working in the prison where Wayne was ‘doing time’. They held regular sessions in the Prison Chapel where interested inmates were taught to play the guitar, to sing, and to write songs. Wayne quickly found his niche and developed into an excellent guitarist and a very good singer. Changing Tunes regularly brought recording equipment into the prison and Wayne was featured on several CD’s.
In addition, the surroundings of the Chapel and the encouragement of the Chaplains led Wayne to find a life worth living and he put his full faith in Jesus Christ. He started mixing with other Christian inmates who helped him to progress. After his release, Changing Tunes offered continuing support both pastorally and with opportunities in music. Wayne Jumped at the chance. He played in concerts and rehearsed with fellow musicians. His Christian faith continued to grow and he was soon living in the community with prison well behind him. Wayne became a regular face at his local church singing and playing in the music team.
The encouragement of the visiting musicians and the chaplains helped Wayne a great deal, but he will certainly never forget the night his life was saved – by an angel!
* photo: by kind permission of Lubos Bena: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License