God’s Providence Arranged the Extradition
While serving as the sergeant in the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at a police agency in Southern California, I was tasked with the extradition of someone I really did not like. I will call him Scott.
Scott was a career criminal and was in custody in Newport, Oregon, on one of our arrest warrants. He had been in and out of jail his entire adult life. I had arrested him in the past and had a very negative impression of him. I was surprised that my division commander approved the extradition due to the nature of the offense. It was a drug trafficking charge, but not for a large amount, a couple of ounces of methamphetamine.
Quite honestly, I did not want to extradite Scott because I did not think the case was worth the expense. My rationale was that sooner or later he would return to Southern California and get picked up on the arrest warrant. Furthermore, I did not want to travel with him for several hours in a car and several more by plane. It was not my idea of a “pleasant day at the office” and the case did not seem like it was worth the effort.
However, my division commander was the boss so my partner and I headed to Oregon to get Scott and return him to Orange County, California. It was a divine appointment, but I was unaware of it at the time.
When we picked Scott up in Oregon, I felt like God was prompting me to share the good news of Christ with him. After all, we were going to spend the better part of the day traveling together, so we might as well talk about something. However, I privately argued with God. I did not want to say anything to Scott on a personal level. I tried to convince God that Scott was a total loser and would never respond to His calling.
God reminded me that Scott had just as much value in His eyes as I did, so I better get on with it.
I hoped God would change His mind, so I stalled. How ridiculous is that? Finally, God’s command became so certain in my thinking that I knew I had to say something. So right after I privately confessed the sin of pride and arrogance, I spoke to Scott.
I began by asking what he thought about God. I really thought that would do it. I assumed that mentioning “God” would kill the conversation. I guess I actually hoped that mentioning “God” would kill the conversation. Then I could say I was obedient while the conversation died a rapid death.
Nevertheless, once I mentioned God, I saw a completely different guy. He came to life and began talking about going to church as a kid. As he got older he started to experiment with drugs, which led to a chronic theft problem among other things. The next thing he knew, his life had spun out of control and he had been in and out of jail for as long as he could remember. He thought he had “accepted Christ as his Savior” as a child, but his lifestyle warranted against any assurance of his faith.
Our conversation began in the car during the two-hour drive to the airport and continued after we boarded a plane. Once we were in flight for about one hour, I awkwardly asked Scott if he wanted to pray, and to my surprise he said, “Yes.”
I prayed with Scott, a guy that God loved just like me, and a guy who needed God’s grace, just like me.
I had a friend who was a volunteer chaplain at the Orange County Jail. After booking Scott at jail I told him that a chaplain would contact him for discipleship during his incarceration, which he did. At the time I had a standing joke with my chaplain friend. I said, “I’ll catch and you clean ‘em.” He was a wonderful guy who cherished ministering to inmates.
Scott said he planned to return to Oregon once he was released from jail in order to avoid many former friends who had led him to paths of destruction. I pray that he did, as I never heard from him again.
Jesus talked about He and the Father being one. He also asked God the Father to make all believers as one, just as Christ is one with the Father. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).