OP-ED: “My Belief in God gives me the Strength to keep the Faith Behind Bars”


By Richard Johnson, Folsom State Prison



What has kept me optimistically hopeful is my belief in God, not man. I truly believe that He never puts too much on our plates for us to contend with.


Each day is a test of our ability to move beyond the trials and tribulations no matter how hard or difficult they may be. I haven’t always been so passionate about a higher power.


The contrary would best describe my previous mindset.


However, my spiritual awakening came as a result of observation coupled with experiencing unimaginable life strengthening situations, that if it were not for divine intervention, all would be lost.


In these situations, my life was clearly at stake, and only by the hand of God was I spared and saved.


I lived a careless existence from day-to-day, not caring what the next held or if it came or not. This attitude was born out of having a thuggish street mentality, under the influence of narcotic stupors that ruled over my entire being.


My most endearing revelation was that being blessed with a god-fearing, devoted mother, whose daily prayers for her wayward son, has helped to shape and open my mind to the necessity of faith, trust and the belief in higher powers.

We’re mere mortals who occupy time and space on this planet by a purposeful design, constructed through a heavenly power. How else can man explain his existence beyond his own conceited illusions about his origins?


The truth is man can’t without arrogantly showing his ignorance and foolish self worth.



Being in prison with a life sentence could bring anyone to a state of inconceivable uncertainty. It can raise questions such as is life worth going on under such conditions?


But, thank God, I now know that when you have a true foundation of faith, conviction and unquestionable belief, that prison isn’t the end of life as you once thought it to be. Faith and optimism is comforting.


My life has been one of ups and downs, mostly downs, instead of conceding to the ills of oppression. My optimistic approach and my faith have given me the power of endurance to prevail as long as it takes.


Some folks seek booze, drugs and foolishness to escape the harsh realities of their imprisonment. These diversions only shade the horrors. They don’t remove them.


Through optimistic introspection and faithful study, I believe if one is steadfast in their conviction, dedicated to a better life, through a spiritual alliance with God, then nothing can detour their life’s course.


Thanks to an alliance with the higher power, I have used critical and exploration thinking to gravitate toward reality, rather than being subjugated to foolery or crusted in nonsensical beliefs and mannerisms that result from one’s perceived hopelessness.


For someone of my faith, it’s unconscionable for me to not realize that without positive insights, constant dread becomes one’s truth.


To avoid gloom and despair, you must reach deep down in your consciousness and awaken your passions to move out of a state of denial and come to know what it is to gain faith, belief and to come to know God in your life and receive all his blessings.


Post Publisher Paul Cobb has informed me that many inmates and their families and supportive congregations are reading my columns. Thank you.


Please send your thoughts and prayers to the Post to be noted online to inspire other inmates. Seize the Time!



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