A Message from Death Row

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me."(Psalm 23 v.4)
I've been sentenced to die in the electric chair for the crime of murder. I saw the inside of my first jail at the age of ten, and my first prison at thirteen. At 27, more than half my life has been spent outside the law, and almost all of it away from God.
I live under the shadow of death, but I've never been happier! Stone walls and steel bars are my home and the electric chair is my future, but I praise God daily. Why? Because He saved this terrible sinner. When I die, I will go home to heaven to be with my Savior for all eternity.
Sometimes a great shock is needed to open a man's eyes. In my case it was the murder I committed. Day in and day out I trembled in fear, without any peace. I was afraid there was no peace for me — none at all.
Every Sunday afternoon, dedicated Christians came to speak at the prison, and desperately tried to lead me to Christ. But I constantly rejected God. I dreaded Sundays. When the church service began, I would hide in a corner where I couldn't be seen. How could God save a sinner like me? I deserved only hell fire, not the wonderful salvation that was being offered to me.
My family prayed for me constantly, begging me to turn to God. They sent me the Bible my grandfather had given me several years earlier, but I still wouldn't read it.
Then one Sunday, two men, who had been of real help to my wife, came to see me. Since my wife had asked them to come, I decided to listen. During that hour, I felt guiltier for my life of sin than ever before. As they were leaving, one of them, noticing my Bible, asked me if I ever read it. I didn't answer him. I just walked away.
That night in my bunk, I kept thinking how I had never given God a chance in my life. I had constantly turned my back on Him, and my life was going deeper and deeper into sin. My soul was tortured. I just had to give God a chance.
Immediately I picked up my Bible, and for the first time in years I opened it and started reading the Gospel of John. For weeks I read it, slowly coming to realize that before I could have any peace in my life I needed peace with God.
The following Sunday at church, the speaker read Revelation 3 v.20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him ..." How that verse went straight to my heart! God was speaking to me and there was no corner where I could hide. I was being given one last chance. Would I reject Him again, or would I open my heart's door and let Him enter?
I was haunted by the thought of the Lord standing there asking to come in — His image was so vivid; His knock and His call were so plain. All my years of sinning were before me as I got down on my knees. For the first time I cried out, "Dear God, be merciful to this sinner." The tears of a lifetime of sin poured out, and I confessed everything to God. My sin felt like a million pounds on my shoulders as I begged for forgiveness! "Lord, save me! Take my life and do what you want with it, but please forgive my sins!" Suddenly the weight was lifted and all fear seemed to leave me.
A joy came over me that I never knew existed. I realized that the Lord heard me and saved Wayne Turner for eternity. I had opened the door, and He had come in with outstretched arms to embrace me! Since that day, my life has been full of blessing and I can't stop praising my Savior.
I'm telling you my story because I want to warn you before it's too late. Don't make the same mistake I did. If you haven't yet come to Christ, please take a close look at yourself. Recognize that you are a sinner and that Christ is standing at your heart's door begging you to let Him come in. Are you going to shut Him out or will you let Him in?
Christ died on the cross to save you and me from sin. If anyone doesn't deserve His grace, I sure don't. But God forgives all sin — even yours; and He welcomes you with love everlasting if you confess your sins and accept His Son as your personal Savior.
My life is about over. Soon I'll be going home to live with my Savior for all eternity. But before I go, I want to tell as many as possible just how much Jesus Christ means to me. I live in the shadow of the electric chair, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone who is unsaved. My strength and comfort are in Jesus Christ, Who watches over me.
I want to leave you with something — a verse that has been God's assurance to me. It can be yours too, if you believe it. "For God so loved Wayne Turner, that He gave His only begotten Son, that if Wayne Turner believes in Him, Wayne Turner would not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3 v.16). Do you believe it? Read it again and put your own name where mine is. Doesn't it sound great? Believe it, and you too will have peace!
—Wayne Turner (Revised)