By Victor Ochieng
Televangelist Jim Bakker recently opened up about his experience in prison, saying he’d most likely never forget that experience, more specifically what used to happen around Christmas. In one of the incidences, one heart-wrenching Christmas message saw him go on his knees. This was so because, while others were talking about how they were going to celebrate Christmas at home, there were those who were doing longer terms and wouldn’t get a chance to meet their families and celebrate with them.
In fact, Bakker says some would cry whenever they heard such messages, more so for those who were serving life.
In an emotional recount of his time in prison, Bakker says the pain has never left him and he says he believes it isn’t going away till the coming of Christ.
At some point, the loneliness in prison saw him read a couple of books. And one of them was “Through The Wilderness of Loneliness” by Tim Hansel. Hansel wrote the book to give a picture of the kind of life he lived after suffering an injury sustained from a mountain fall. Bakker shared an excerpt from the book, which says: “The pain of loneliness is one way in which God gets our attention.”
Unfortunately for Hansel, the publication of the book was halted after his wife divorced him because of the pain he was going through. Why? The book had been published by a Christian publication, and they didn’t want to continue working with a divorcee, believing that it would mean they were supporting divorce.
Bakker said that when he was doing well, everybody came in; friends were around; things were moving on well. However, as soon as he was locked up in prison, everybody walked away and the pain of loneliness hit him.
But then he also draws inspiration from Hansel’s book. Therein, Hansel says a friend isn’t among those who’re going out when one is down. Instead, a friend comes in. Bakker says that even though people walked out on him, he got to know who his true friend was.
Bakker, however, admits that the pain was too much, just like Hansel described in one of his notes in his journal that says, “The loneliness was so bad tonight it sucked all the oxygen out of the room. It was so intense it felt like it could peel the paint off the walls.”
Then Bakker paused and asked: “Have you ever been that lonely?” His answer to his question was, “I have,” and that was for the five years he was locked up in prison. He then asked his audience not to feel sorry for him because through that loneliness, he got to understand the intimacy of Christ.
Yes, he got to know that his true friend is Jesus Christ.