Can Anything Good Come From Being Arrested?
As I was handing out our gospel tracts at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport with a co-worker, I was approached by a woman from the Department of Aviation. She asked if I had a permit to hand out our literature. I did, so T showed it to her. Then she said I was standing in the wrong place (some 20 feet from a sign stating that people were exercising First Amendment rights in that area). She said I must stand between a certain set of elevators near the Hare-Krishnas and other religious and political groups with whom I did not want to be identified, so I refused.
In the not-so-distant past the Supreme Court of the United States had ruled that airports in general were places where First Amendment Rights would be upheld. Also, one group had threatened to take O’Hare Airport to court, saying that their imposed regulations were unconstitutional. The judge reviewing the case had agreed that the rules O’Hare was attempting to enact were unreasonably restrictive, and the rules were struck down. So there we were—the Department of Aviation with no rules, and me with my gospel broadsides.
I told the woman I was not going to move because there were no rules in force, and the recent court case had proved our right to be there. She left, seeming distressed that I had challenged her. About 15 minutes later a police officer approached and asked me to move. I explained the situation to her. She said if I didn’t move I would be arrested. I moved only so far as to call my supervisor and inform him that I might be arrested. He instructed me to return to my location and continue to hand out my tracts. I did, and within five minutes I was arrested, handcuffed, placed in the back of a cruiser and driven to a police station where I was placed in a temporary holding cell.
I knew that I’d be there for a while, so I sang and prayed. I particularly asked the Lord to show me that this was his will and not something I had brought about out of a sense of pride or arrogance.
Just then I was transferred to another division for processing and put into a cell with six other men. Not to waste time, I started to talk to them. A man named Clyde was very moved by my being arrested for telling people about Jesus and the joy I expressed in being able to "suffer" to some extent for him. One by one the others were released, until only Clyde and I were left. I turned to him and looked into his eyes. He looked as though he were longing for hope.
I asked, "Clyde, would you like to ask Jesus into your life?"
"Yes!" came his response from a voice choking with emotion.
We prayed right there in that grey prison cell, and I watched as God’s freeing power entered Clyde’s life. He looked up with a smile and asked if I’d call him. Just then the guard came back to say that Clyde was being released. He quickly ripped a piece of paper from the guard’s newspaper, jotted down his name and phone number and handed it to me. I was so excited and happy that the guard noticed and asked me what was so wonderful about being in jail.
About half an hour later I was released. Now I knew this had been the Lord’s will. He had set up this divine appointment for Clyde and me to bring him into a living relationship with God and to encourage me in a time of trial. Praise the Lord for that opportunity to share the new life with Clyde!
A few days later I was arrested again under the same rules the judge had struck down. Please pray for all the legal aspects involved in these cases of harassment Jews for Jesus is facing, and for the battles we must endure if we are to continue to exercise our constitutional rights.