BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION
Do you believe in miracles?
I mean, do you believe that Almighty GOD intervenes in human affairs, even in the life of an individual? Does GOD concern Himself with what goes on in this tiny little planet of ours? Does He hear prayer, and change the course of events in answer to that prayer?
No, responds the skeptic.
Then there are some who say, "I would like to see a miracle! If I could see a bonafide miracle I, too, would believe in GOD and in His love and power for mankind."
Well, come along with me to "the Old Lighthouse," Pacific Garden Mission on South State Street's Skid Row in Chicago. The "Street" is sin personified. Wickedness and human depravity are everywhere in evidence until one reaches the Mission. There the appearance of the building itself gives an indication of orderliness, quiet, cleanliness, and above all, godliness. The open Bible in the window and the Scripture verses that are quoted, and the neon lighted cross over the doorway, stand in sharp contrast to the rest of the "Street."
One might not expect to see genuine miracles under these circumstances, but right here is where they take place. To the Old Lighthouse come the drug addicts, the alcoholics, the down-and-outers, the flotsam and jetsam of human society. Most of them have seen far better days, but sin has been their undoing.
Here the hopeless find hope, the unloved and unlovely find love, the outcast finds rest of heart and restoration with GOD. The Bible declares explicitly that "the gospel of Christ... is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." The drunkard and the drug addict, the depraved and the desperate, the humanly hopeless, experience the transforming dynamic of the Gospel, and from sin are set free.
These are the unshackled, some of whose stories are told in this choice volume of testimonies.
Want to see a miracle? First of all, read about miracles here, and when there is opportunity, come to see for yourself. I know because I have seen for myself.
Dr. V. Raymond Edman
When Harry Saulnier asked me to adapt more Unshackled scripts into narrative farm, I wanted to say no. My previous two encounters with the stories of men and women who had tragically lost their way had left me exhausted emotionally and depressed. So I timidly decided to wait before giving Pacific Garden Mission a definite answer.
But as I delayed my answer, a memory came back to haunt me. During the writing of another book-length piece on the power of GOD in the lives of alcoholics, I had been living in an upstate New York city, sub-renting from 9 to 5 each day a small apartment. I found the apartment by placing an ad in the local paper ("writer wants daytime working space") and I met the business girl who answered my ad only once. Each day, she left her apartment at quarter of nine; I arrived with my briefcase at quarter after.
For six months, I reveled in what were almost perfect writing conditions - only my husband knew my phone number there. But in the spring when I was about to begin my alcoholic project, strange things began to happen. First, a phone call one morning at eight-thirty, and a ragged blurred voice saying that the apartment would not be available that day. A few weeks later, I opened the apartment door and walked into a mess - empty bottles, spilled food, overturned ashtrays.
Now the real drama was clear. An open letter left on top of the TV established it. My friend was an alcoholic, struggling to stay dry and hold her job.
Then one morning, I opened the living room door, set my briefcase inside, and paused. A sickly sweet smell hung over the room, and my friend was sprawled on the sofa. I stopped, and then I bolted. I had a deadline to meet (my editor was pushing me far the finished alcoholics project). This was none of my business. Really, what could I do anyway?
Within two weeks, the episode had resolved itself. My young landlady phoned me one evening to announce that she was moving to the west coast. I told her that my husband had just accepted a call to a church in another city. My deadline was met, and my writing about skid row was over forever, I thought.
Yes, of course, I have since bitterly regretted my inability to act, to help. I was young, I was pushed for time - I have tried every rationalization. But the knowledge that I could write, but not do, has haunted me.
But I could write. Far that reason, I pulled the letter from my files and said yes to Harry Saulnier.
GOD has given us different talents. The people at the Pacific Garden Mission have the courage to act out GOD's reconciling love through JESUS CHRIST. To some of us has been given the chance to tell about what they do.
So, prodded by the memory of an alcoholic I neglected and rejected, I have adapted these Unshackled radio scripts by Eugenia Price and Jack Odell.
I pray that the words and phrases will be used somewhere, somehow, to help men and women who need help.
Faith Coxe Bailey