One day a idealistic young man stood before God, and said, "Lord, use me greatly!" So God made an enemy for him in a local judge. If the young man opened his mouth and spoke anything of Christ, the judge would fine him. Still the young man witnessed and preached despite the pain and trouble this caused him. Next, when the young man could no longer pay his mounting fines, the judge seized all that he owned and sold it to pay the debt. Still the young man continued to preach and witness. Next, the judge had him thrown in jail. The judge thought, "That'll shut him up." But the young man continued to witness and preach.
So the judge turned the guards against him. He was beaten and abused, starved and left to suffer many days and nights. Yet he did not let up his witness for Christ. So the judge, through the jailers, turned the inmates against him. They would beat him and abuse him and do all kind of unspeakable things to him. Yet he continued to witness and preach, though broken was his body. Deciding that the young man must be mentally unstable, or perhaps outright insane, the judge ordered him into a mental health facility where he was further abused. Yet he continued to preach.
Amazed that, despite all that'd been done to him, the young man would not give up his love for Christ, nor stop his witnessing and preaching of the gospel to others, the judge visited him in his cell. But rather than finding the answers he sought, he only came away enraged that the young man would not give up his "senseless madness". So the judge sent him away to another state for treatment. But while the young man was away, the judge began to notice something. Where once his caseload seemed unbearable, backed up beyond all possible belief, he now found it to be rapidly growing lighter by the day.
Some came because cases were being dropped. With others, it was criminal who no longer wished to fight their cases. They openly declared themselves guilty, and chose prison or punishments over court. When he began to inquire to the cause, he was surprised what he found. When he had fined the young man for preaching, he had only grown bolder. Because of this many heard the gospel and were saved. When he stripped him of all he had, the young man took his preaching to the poor. Many heard and were saved. When he'd locked the young man in prison, again he grew bolder and preached all the more, despite the suffering. As a result, many prisoners and guards came to be saved.
When he'd sent the young man to the mental ward, he'd again grown still bolder and preached the word. As he did, many miracles occurred, residents got healed, and many countless people got saved. Amazed at all he was hearing, he went to seek out the young man whom he'd so viciously persecuted and demanded, "Tell me about this Jesus so you foolishly cling to!" The young man smiled at him through tired, hurting eyes. "Why do you wish to know about Him if He is so hated by you?" he asked. The judge's hardened fast softened slightly. "Because I have seen that which is impossible. The criminal has become honest, and the liar a guardian of truth. The blind see, the lame walk, the broken in mind made whole. How can your senseless babbling make this kind of thing happen!?"
The boy smiled. "The cross is foolishness to those who do not believe." The judge looked at him in confusion. "What does that mean?" "It means that, until you know Jesus, you will never understand all that He does, and all that He can do." "So all I did to you only brought about good? How can evil bring about good?" "What you meant for evil, God meant for good. You see, before all this began I asked the Lord to use me greatly. So he gave me you, and through your persecution, God has indeed used me greatly and brought many souls to Him." The judge was astounded at this. "So despite all that I have done, this Jesus you preach has used what evil I have done to bring about great good?"
The boy nodded. "He has." The judge scowled at him. "You are a liar! No imaginary man can bring about such change in people! I will not believe!" He then stormed out of the room. However, the young man's words would not leave his mind. They tormented him for days, and then weeks, and eventually months. Finally, he could no longer take it. The revival and transformation of the world around him defied all logical explanation. Where once there had been hatred, evil and wickedness around him, he now heard words of praise to God, even from some whose mouths were so beset with foul language as to make a sailor blush. No matter what he did, he could not deny what he saw.
If this Jesus, whom he still believed to be only a mindless fairy tale, could transform so many lives, then there had to be something more to Him than just the stories he'd heard of Him, which he regarded as nothing more than ancient fairy tales. So he sat down and he studied, and he researched, he sought and he inquired, and to his amazement, what stories he'd heard in his own town were not just restricted to its borders and its limits. Perhaps there was some truth to this Jesus the young man preached. Eventually the judge came to the young man again who, despite his health continuing to decay, still was happy to see the judge when he arrived. This so surprised the judge that it brought him to tears.
"All that I have done to you, and yet you still smile. Why?" he asked. "Because Jesus loves you. He wants to save you from your sins and give you eternal life. If He did not, He would not have died in your place to reconcile you to Him and take away your sins." The judge dropped to his knees next to the young man's bed, and said, "I have studied your Jesus in depth in books and in old manuscripts. However, despite all that I have learned, you are the greatest testimony to who He really is. If you could still love and care for me, despite all that I have done, then your Jesus must be real, for no man could love another who has done so much evil to him."
The young man smiled. "It is not I, but Christ who lives within me." The judge then began to weep. "I want to know your Christ. For no imaginary man or creation of the mind can exact such change. As such, logic dictates that, not only is He real, but I am in great need of him." The young man smiled wider, praised God for all He'd done, and then led him to Jesus. That night he prayed and thanked the Lord, saying, "Praise you, Lord, for indeed using me greatly. Though I have suffered much, you have answered my prayer and called this hardened, bitter old man who so despised you, and gave him eternal life. For that I am grateful, for I have prayed for him for many years. But it wasn't until I asked for you to use me greatly that he finally came. If that is what it will take to bring in the rest, then I am content to suffer as much as I need to see them come to know you as well, even if it should kill me."
And with that the young man closed his eyes and quietly went home to be with his Lord. Even so, the Lord continued to use him greatly. Perhaps not in person, but certainly through the actions and efforts of all those whom he led to the Lord, and most especially the old judge who he himself too prayed for God to use him greatly, of which He did, and through his selfless actions, many, many more were saved.