Warning bells

house on fire

Larry Harris had heard that little voice in his head several times warning him about the stupidity of his actions and the danger of the company he was keeping, but it took a 20-year prison sentence for him to finally stop running and start hearing what it was saying.

That little voice had spoken to him when, as a young man, after his grandfather's death and parents' divorce, he medicated his pain by drinking heavily, moving in with a topless dancer, and taking cocaine.

"I really was a good person at heart and helped everybody I could, but I could not walk away from the things that made me feel good," he confesses.

That desire to help others led to Larry becoming a firefighter. In the course of his work, he again heard the voice trying to get his attention. One day he went out on an emergency call to a house fire after a hard night of partying. Not thinking clearly he rushed into the building without a mask or oxygen tank and within five minutes became lost and confused.

"For the first time in my life I thought about God and even called out His name to help me. I knew of God, but I did not know God," Larry explains.

A minute later he was pulled out by another firefighter from a different district who should not really have been there. Larry was not sure whether it was an act of God but it certainly gave him something to think about.

Then he was involved in a very serious car accident, where he flipped the car five times, and his family was told that nothing could be done for his injuries and he would probably die. The doctors said it would take a miracle to save his life, and, after just 28 days and much prayer from his family, Larry walked out of hospital remembering the insistent small voice he had heard just before the crash.

The following week he went to church and prayed, giving his life to the Lord. But looking back he says that he is not sure how sincere that prayer was. It didn't really change the way he lived.

It took another 14 years, and another car accident, in which Larry's fiancé was killed, for him to finally, and literally, fall to his knees and surrender his life to God.

The driver of the vehicle had fled the scene leaving Larry to carry the blame and be charged with intoxicated manslaughter. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Although he could have given in to bitterness at his unjust treatment, six years later he sees his situation with the perspective of faith "In human's eyes prison was meant for punishment but in God's eyes it was meant for healing! You see, I did not get punished, I got saved!


"God now had me in a place where I could no longer run. He tried so many times before to get my attention, but I would pretend not to hear Him. But now, God is all I hear," Larry confesses.

And it has made all the difference in his life.

"The things I once thought were fun are just a stupid memory of my past. The only thing God allowed me to hold on to was my passion to help others. He has now surrounded me with all kinds of people to help. The wisdom I had needed my whole life I now have. The hole that was once in my heart is now filled. I now have forgiven those who wronged me. I now put the needs of others before my own, because God has said He will supply all my needs.

"God removed the junk out of my life and I now live for Him," Larry declares.

That "junk" included the desire Larry had to drink, do drugs, and lie.

"Today I can say that God is real!" Larry insists. "He has delivered me from all my addictions. He has removed all my fears and worries and has fixed the broken relationships.

"Even in prison, I am free!"

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