In Process – “Robert Light: ‘We truly have an all sufficient God’

by Glen Doss, Major

Bruised from the fight with his cellmate, Robert Light lifted himself painfully from the cell floor. This was just the latest of several fights, and he was only six weeks into a 12-month jail sentence! Robert, 22, was scared. He didn’t know what to do.

Then a flash: Take it to God! Though he hadn’t been to church or prayed since childhood, he hit his knees. In tears, he pleaded: “Dear God, if you will get me out of here, I swear I’ll never steal another car! I’ll do right. I swear I will!”

Two hours later, roused from a deep sleep by the sound of his name over the intercom, he groggily replied, “Yeah?”

“Roll it up! You’re going home!”

“Wow!” Robert thought—but it couldn’t be! “What?”

“Do you want to go home or not?”

“Yeah! I’m sorry. I’m coming!” Leaping from his cot, Robert left that jailhouse praising God.

Robert’s story begins in San Diego where he and his older sister were raised by a working mom, an emergency medical technician. She divorced Robert’s stepfather, when Robert was 12. When she could, his mother took him to church where he loved singing in the choir. Robert was a good child; however, his sister began drinking and using drugs quite young, leading to violent behavior—fistfights—with their mother. The household became increasingly chaotic.

Why God, why?

By age 14, Robert was also drinking, as well as smoking cigarettes and marijuana. His sister introduced him to methamphetamines. “When I took that first hit, I knew that was what I had been looking for,” he recalls. As his meth habit grew, Robert began selling the drug. Busted at 18, he spent six months in jail. Afterward his mother’s mobile home park would not allow him back in; he continued his criminal lifestyle, residing with friends.

As he climbed into his friend’s car for the ride home following a 2004 jail term, Robert noticed his buddy was unusually quiet. “Hey, man, what’s up?” he asked.

“You need to talk to your sister right away,” his friend told him.

Later Robert and his sister went for a walk. “I have something to tell you,” she said.

“Where’s mom at?” he asked anxiously.

“She’s dead,” came the blunt response.

As Robert sobbed, his sister told the bizarre story. His mother and sister had an argument. Afterward, their mother, aged 41, went for a walk in a heavy rain, though her car was parked nearby. Days later, her body was found floating face down in a lagoon, badly decomposed. In anguish Robert cried out: “What happened to my mom? Why, God? Why?” An investigation is still pending into what happened. Robert went on a binge lasting for days.

He was serving time for stealing a truck when he made his jailhouse bargain with God. When, to his amazement, the prayer was answered, Robert tried to keep the commitment—he sought out a sober living home—but a few months later relapsed. In 2006 he was arrested for grand theft auto and sentenced to two years in prison.

There Robert woke up. Glancing around at the older inmates, he asked himself: “Do I want to be one of these men 30 years from now?” Released after 13 months, he confessed to a friend: “I don’t know what to do. But one thing I do know: I want to stay clean.”

Thoughtfully, his friend replied: “You don’t know how to live, Robert. What you need is a program.” He reflected and realized she was right—he had never learned how to live an adult life.

Learning how to live

Dropped off at The Salvation Army ARC in Perris, Calif., in November 2007, Robert realized: “This is where I’m supposed to be.” Hitting his knees daily, he recommitted his life to Christ, then began worshipping at the local Salvation Army corps. After completing the program in May 2008, he was hired on at the ARC.

Shortly thereafter, an old girlfriend got out of prison and Robert began seeing her. One memorable day, she announced she was pregnant. However, following the baby’s birth in September 2009, she relapsed on drugs. Three months after his daughter Jessie was born, Robert received a phone call from her grandmother: “Your baby’s mother hasn’t been back in three days, Robert. We have your daughter here. Maybe you should come get her.”

“I’m on my way,” he replied. Robert since has been awarded custody of the child and is committed to being the best father he can be. “It’s hard to be a dad and raise a little girl by yourself,” he said.“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But she is my pride and joy.”

Today, Robert is an active soldier of the Moreno Valley Corps where he participates with the Praise and Worship music team. As dock supervisor, he ministers to the men in the ARC program.

“I tell them: ‘I came into the program with no family or friends for support but found God here. If you think you’re alone, be aware you’re not. You’re surrounded by brothers, and God’s always here for you. God took away everything I had just to show me he is all I need. He is all any of us need. We truly have an all-sufficient God.’ ”

Sharing is caring!