Of all of the men in the book “Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness”, Chuck Colson life is truly impressive. Partly because he lived in our era. To read about a man, especially a man who worked in the public eye, and whose life was truly transformed, amongst all the scoffers, is a testament to God, and the power of Jesus Christ.
Chuck Colson’s life was: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Charles (Chuck) Colson, who worked hard, in his younger years, for President Richard Nixon – the most powerful man on earth, but spent the second half of his life working even harder for the King of kings.
Chuck was an only child to ambitious parents. They sacrificed to allow him to attend Browne & Nichols in Cambridge, MA. He graduated in 1953, then married (Nancy). In the next few years they became parents to 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. Chuck rose quickly in the Marine’s ranks to become the youngest captain in its long history.
In 1954, on the deck of the USS Mellette, he became certain that beyond all the stars, was God. He prayed and accepted God’s miraculous and mysterious ways.
In 1960 he managed a senator’s political race. There he learned his first ‘dirty tricks’, from planting fake news stories to spying on the opposition. Chuck was obsessed with politics which led to a divorce. In 1964 he married the woman who would be his wife for the next 48 years – Patty Hughes.
!n 1968 he became involved in a presidential campaign, working hard to elect Richard Nixon. At age 38 he had the ear and the confidence of the most powerful man on the planet. In 1972, he was made a scapegoat and was let go. This after 4 years of, anything but, upstanding moral behavior.
Chuck, as a lawyer, met a client who recently accepted Jesus Christ at a Billy Graham crusade. Tom Phillips gave Chuck an open invite to talk anytime he felt or needed to. Chuck, at the time, felt uncomfortable about it.
Meanwhile, a historical political meltdown was brewing called Watergate. It was revealed there were unlawful secret conversations that were recorded. Chuck cringed thinking about whta was said. Newsreporters and cameras were now stationed outside his home. Chuck escapeded the gathering storm by taking a trip (to Maine). En
route, he decided to visit his friend, Tom Phillips, in Massachusetts. Chuck asked what had happened to alter Tom’s life so drastically. He pulled out a paperback copy of ‘Mere Christianity’ and read aloud from the chapter on “The Great Pride: Sin”, Chuck felt the agony of shame, and began to sob.
As he drove home, Chuck, still sobbing, pulled over to the side of the road. There on the side of a MA road, Chuck gave his life to the Lord. All Chuck knew was that he asked God into his heart, in a simple way, had come out of his brokenness. At first, the idea he had to accept not just God, but Jesus, was confusing. He dove deeper into C. S. Lewis. The mans logic was irrefutable.
Returning to Washington, Chuck’s life was stressful, especially with a looming trial on the horizon. Tom Phillips contacted a friend, Doug Coe, who was leading a Christian fellowship group. Chuck found close allies, especially in the painful months to come. He was offered a plea bargain, but as a new Christian, felt uncomfortable and denied it. He actually took a step further which didn’t make sense to anyone besides his Christian fellowship brothers. He plead guity to another (obstruction) charge.
On July 8, 1974 Chuck entered prison, he spent nearly a year in jail but didn’t just survive, he thrived. After his release in 1975, he returned to visit just 3 days later, this was a sign of things to come. ‘Prison Fellowship Ministries'(PFM) made prison ministry a front burner issue in many churches across the country. Chuck also had a deep interest in worldview and the need to teach it to be faithful. The PFM and ‘Breakpoint’, a radio program with more than 8 millions listeners – fruits of his time spent in jail/the Word.
Chuck truly was a Wilberforce for our times. Like Wilberforce, he came to genuine faith in adulthood. Like Wilberforce, he wanted to help those in society who suffer. Even if it took decades, he was committed to helping those entrenched in social problems.
Chuck died in 2012, his daughter, Emily, spoke at the funeral: “Today is a celebration of my Father’s life, but today is also about us – you and me. What will we do in the shadow of such an extraordinary role model? There is work to be done. I encourage you to continue the work God has begun through my Father’s life. Do the right thing, defend the weak, live courageous lives.
Chuck’s last words to his family were a final witness to a God he served. ” I want my funeral services to be joyful,” he wrote “I don’t want people to be sad because I believe with every ounce of conviction in my body that deathis but a homecoming, and that we’ll be in the presence of God. It’s a culmination of life. It’s a celebration.
Do you believe that? It’s true.
Shared by Doug Ross
next week….it’s back to Chad, now I’m on vacation!