At the end of every tunnel there is light. I compare that tunnel with your situation right now, and I want to remind you of the light shining ahead of you. I know at times you might feel overwhelmed and distressed, but I still want to encourage you in faith. Everyone was born for a purpose, and believe me, your purpose is NOT to spend the rest of your life in prison, even less to die there; your purpose is greater than you can ever imagine or understand.
Nelson Mandela is someone who taught that hope is the sharpest weapon to fi ght difficult times. After spending 27 years in jail, he emerged to become the President of South Africa. It was no mere coincidence or luck. It was simply the power of hope at work. To hope is to have faith in things that have not yet happened. If you strongly believe in something, God will work to make it a reality. I do not know how much time remains for you in prison, but what I know for sure is that hope can shorten your time, give you peace of mind and render you healthy and strong.
They might take your freedom from you, but no one can steal your dreams and your heart’s desires. I encourage you with all my own heart – never spend your life regretting your past mistakes. Why? Because everything takes its natural course, and there was nothing you could do to prevent it happening. We cannot change our past. But we can construct a new future. Life without hope is one with no love. Hope alone brings happiness. It gives you an excitement for tomorrow, that it will be better than today. Life always gets complicated when you expect others to believe in you, but you do not have that own belief in yourself. Life without hope is blind, useless and will fall into a ditch. When you do have hope, you light a lamp to guide you from your tunnel and into a new life. Every single day brings you closer to that light, growing an ant to become an elephant.
If you do not have hope now, even life after prison will be the same as it was before, dark and directionless. When we give up on life and lose hope, we are simply accepting failure and inviting further failures on our path. Indeed, the greatest failure in life is not having hope. To return to Mandela, I truly believe that if he had not gone to jail, he would not have become President. Like Mandela, God is preparing you for a bright future and at the same time you set an example for others that with hope and faith, all things are possible. So, my brothers and sisters, have no regrets where you find yourself right now. Forgive yourself and move on. Your life now might be a little difficult, but this is mostly because you have not fully accepted your situation.
When I was young, I went to school with whites in South Africa, and it was very hard because of apartheid. Unlike the white children, I was never happy waking up and thinking of going to school. I had nothing to be happy for; my days were full of assaults and insults. My parents said it was the “best school” and not to mind what I was going through.
From that day on, I did something that made my days in school bright and joyful. I simply accepted my situation the way it was, and cultivated hope inside of me. At the end of the year, I was first in the class! The same thing can happen to you.
I am not writing this to you because I am rich, successful or sitting comfortably in my office. No, I am in a prison cell, locked up like you. My freedom, like yours, has been taken away from me, and I have no idea how long I will spend here. But I am not worried; I preserve my faith; my life is a battle right now and my only weapons are hope and faith. But these same weapons of hope and faith performed a miracle in my early life and they will do so again! I do not want to look back on these years in jail and regret them.
We have what we need for now, we can wake up each morning with a smile. We have only one chance at life, and if we have hope and faith, one chance is enough. Hope will one day open the gates of your prison and make your dreams come true. Hope and faith do not have “favorite people;” they are for each and every one of us.
The Bible says that faith can move mountains, so, of what are we afraid? Faith can turn your situation around. Hope and faith produce doctors, lawyers and all kinds of other pioneers and motivators, from prisoners whom people have written off.
I was arrested on May 14, 2013, and since then have learned so much. Prison has taught me love, sharing, better understanding and gratitude. But I will admit that when I first came here, I was emotionally overwhelmed and incapable of continuing on with my life. But I am back on the path! There is an end to every tunnel, for some sooner than others. But for all of us, it will be amazing and bring lasting joy in our lives. Hope and have faith… and seek the purpose of your life from God. I hope to meet you one day and your own testimony about hope and faith.