"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:18
It was a cold December morning. Dressed in a white execution gown, he was led to the wall of the prison courtyard with the others. Blindfolded, he waited for the last sound he would hear: the crack of a pistol echoing off the prison walls. Instead, he heard fast-paced footsteps, then the announcement that the czar had commuted his sentence to 10 years of hard labor.
So intense was that moment that he suffered an epileptic seizure—a malady he would suffer the rest of his life.
Fyodor Dostoevsky was sent to prison, where he had only a New Testament to read. In it he discovered something more compelling than his socialistic ideals. He met Jesus, and his heart was changed. Upon leaving prison, he wrote to a friend that the Lord was so dear to him that if he were to find out that Jesus was not in the realm of truth, he would rather have Jesus than the truth.
Dostoevsky returned to civilian life. He wrote feverishly and produced the novels The House of the Dead and Crime and Punishment, followed by his personal memoirs and many other works.
The sorrowful end of this story is that he never grew as a believer in Jesus. His church attendance was sporadic. He neglected Bible study and the fellowship of other believers. He began to drink heavily, and gambling left him penniless. He had left prison with his heart aflame for Jesus, but he died with nothing more than smoldering embers.
As a writer, Dostoevsky left a legacy that places him among the literary greats. One wonders what impact his life could have had if he had stayed faithful to God. In the words of the great poet John Greenleaf Whittier, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
Keeping on track for Jesus in good times and in bad is the only way to finish life and face eternity with few regrets.
- What things in my life have sidetracked my passion and enthusiasm for Jesus?
- Why is it so hard to stay faithful to Him?
- What will I do differently today to reflect my love for Jesus?