Today’s Reading: Acts 28:1-31 (additional reading: Psalm 9:1-12 & Proverbs 19:1-3)
Myrtie Howell. She was a devoted Christian woman. But she had lived a hard life. Her family was very poor. When she was 10, she quit school and went to work in a steel mill for 10 cents a day. She married at age 17. But in early 1940, her husband was killed in an accident. And when that happened, she lost her home. And she had to go back to work to support herself and her three kids.
Years later, her declining health forced her to move into a old, high rise nursing home. A few weeks later, her youngest son died. And that?s when she fell into a depression. She said, “Lord, what more can I do for you? I?ve lost everything that ever meant something to me. And now I’m stuck in this dark, dreary room. I have nothing left to live for! I want to die! I’ve had enough of this prison. Take me home.”
But then God spoke to her as clear as possible. He said, “I’m not through with you yet, Myrtie. Write to prisoners.” So she wrote a letter and sent it to the Atlanta Penitentiary. And this is what the letter said: “Dear inmate. I am a grandmother who loves and cares for you. I am willing to be a friend. If you?d like to hear from me, write me. I will answer every letter you write. A Christian friend, Grandmother Howell.”
The letter was given to the prison chaplain. And he gave her the names of eight prisoners she could write to. Prison Fellowship gave her some more names. Soon, she was corresponding with up to 40 inmates a day. She became a one woman ministry reaching into prisons all over America.
She said, “I thought my life was over. But these past few years have been the most fulfilling years of my life! I thank Prison Fellowship! And most of all, I thank Jesus!”
Myrtie Howell became a great missionary for God. Out of a one room apartment. No matter where you live. Or what your situation is like. God can still do wonderful things through your life. As long as your heart is still beating. And your blood is still pumping, Jesus Christ is not through with you.
That’s what the apostle Paul learns in Acts 28. At this point, he’s under house arrest. For a crime he didn’t commit. And he’s awaiting trial before the wicked emperor Nero. It seems as though his life is over. Paul could have thrown in the towel but instead he kept on serving.