“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it…Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”
It would be hard to imagine anyone ever giving up a life of comfort, privilege, position and recognition for a life of duty, service, and anonymity. The only ones I can think of are the children of the rich and/or famous. By the time they reach their college years, they typically rebel against their parent’s abhorrent and obsessive behavior towards travel, entertainment, shopping and just all-around excess.
In today’s plea bargaining mentality, it would be hard to find someone willing to stand up for themselves, their dignity, the truth or God, regardless of the consequences – regardless of spending almost fifteen years in prison. But it happened.
Dale Lincoln Duke, a Dallas man who served fourteen years in prison for an abuse he steadfastly denied has finally been declared innocent. A simple man by appearance, a soft spoken man when questioned, he received a standing ovation from most in the courtroom. The judge told him that it was her “privilege” to release him.
Mr. Duke had entered a no contest plea to the charge of abusing his seven year old stepdaughter back in 1992. He received ten years’ deferred adjudication. He was sentenced to twenty years in 1997 because he refused to admit to the offense. Although the stepdaughter later recanted her testimony, Mr. Duke was not given another hearing. Finally, last year, Duke’s attorney found evidence that prosecutors in the 1990s had withheld. On November 4th, Mr Duke walked out of the court room a “free man”. The judge apologized for this travesty of justice, and the prosecutors apologized for stripping this man of fourteen years of his life and most likely his sanity.
Why didn’t he just give in? Why didn’t he just take the easy way out? Because he is a strong and committed believer in Jesus Christ. He believes that Christ is Lord and Savior. He believed justice would be served now or later.
What I have learned in my life is that strength comes from faith; courage from hope; and you can only dream of persevering through trial if you can love God (or someone else) more than yourself. There it is…“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. Mr. Duke is a hero - a saint. Many others have forfeited this right. Who can blame them! This type of honor, privilege and title can only be achieved through pain, suffering and death to self. “Conquer evil by doing good.” (Rom 12:21) This verse may not be grammatically correct, but it works! It is very irrational and extremely divine! It is out of this world!
Now, will I apply it to my life? Will I hold steady in the truth? Will I stand with the Lord? Will I fight the good fight?
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Ps 23:1,4)
In our current state of negativity, all I want to tell you is that the dead do come back to life! Redemption can happen and it does happen.
“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand!” (Lk 21:28)