Left Photo: Steve Griffin Right Photo: Honorable Faith Johnson, Esq.
In 1990, my life was a wreck due to over 20 years of addiction and running from God. I was in jail once again for possession of heroin. My marriage had ended in divorce. I had been in prison twice by this time and was on parole. I had no hope. The jail was so overcrowded that I was sleeping on the floor in a hallway where everyone walked.
I was miserable. My body was sick from lack of heroin and I just wanted to die. I had failed God and everyone else in my life and now due to this case, I was certain to go back to prison again.
I talked to God and He told me He just wanted me to really surrender to Him. I told Him I didn’t know how and I had tried many times but failed at that. He told me He had been waiting for me to realize I could not do it in my own strength. I needed His help. I had to lose everything to be free. I sincerely asked Him to show me how to do this, to surrender it all to Him. He told me He had been waiting for me for a long time. I felt a weight lift off of me that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. I knew God accepted me even though I had nothing but pain and shame to offer him.
After that day things started changing. I was moved out of the tank I was in and put in a 2-man cell by myself because I was asked when arrested if I wanted to part of NA or AA and I had said yes. It was not crowded because most people were not interested in change. This was indeed the Hand of God.
The next sign of the Hand of God there was no blue warrant filed stopping me from having bail even though that is automatic when a person on parole gets a felony.
I made bail and went to a program in East Texas that trains up people from prison for ministry. I was able to get a court-appointed attorney that told me I was guilty and there was no defense. The DA wanted to file Habitual Criminal on me which would carry 20 to life. If I was lucky he might get me 20 years since my charge was only possession.
That was discouraging but I knew I was right with God and I would serve him in prison if that is where He wanted me. The rest of my life belonged to Him. My case was postponed for over 6 months. I continued my studies and grew closer to God. My court date arrived and the lawyer said I would have to plead guilty and take what the Judge gave me. I knew I would go back to prison but I was going to trust God no matter what happened.
Another sign of God’s Hand in my life was going to a court with the Judge named ‘Faith Johnson’. I pleaded guilty and the DA did not have his paperwork together in order to file Habitual Criminal but the Judge refused to postpone the trial any longer. She asked me if I had anything to say before she passed sentence. I told her what God had done in my life since I was released. I had been studying the Word of God and was free from drugs and alcohol. She just shook her head and said, ‘I don’t know why I am doing this but I’m going to reinstate your parole and give you 10 years’ probation’. Then she looked me in the eye saying, ‘I better not see you in this Court again’. Gods hand once again.
I went back to the ministry, finished their program. The next phase was Bible School in Mexico. The problem was I was on probation and parole and needed to leave the country.
My parole officer put me on ‘Annual Reporting’ and told me to come back in one year to report. Hand of God.
Probation was more difficult. The officer said I would have to get permission from the Court where I had been sentenced. He set up a meeting with the Officers over probation there in Faith Johnson’s Court. I asked them if it would be possible for me to leave the country to attend Bible School. They said, ‘No problem. We always bring people back before the Judge to revoke their probation. We want to show the Judge something that works. You won’t be able to report, so we will waive reporting. You won’t be able to work, so we will waive your fees. Contact us when you get back.’ They spoke to the Judge, and she agreed. Once again, the Hand of God doing the impossible. I was in shock and overjoyed. What a powerful God we serve.
After Bible School, God restored my marriage. My wife and I worked at that ministry for 10 years preaching in the prisons across Texas, Mexico, and Belize. After that, we moved to Dallas and started our own Prison Ministry. God made a way for us to teach and oversee 3 Christians dorm at Dawson State Jail for 8 years until they closed 4 years ago.
I am now the Program Manager at a residential aftercare for men coming out of prison. I teach at this Aftercare as well as overseeing a Christian dorm at the Estes unit. My wife and I both teach in the prison as well as Reconciliation Outreach. We are both full time missionaries to the lost and hurting of this world to this day.
Thank you, Faith Johnson, for hearing God that day in your courtroom in 1990. Many lives have been impacted by your decision and we pray that God will use us to help many more.
~ Steve Griffith