“I had lost everything–power, prestige, freedom, even my identity…. But in another sense I had found everything, all that really matters.” -Charles W. Colson, Born Again

Tucked away in our cozy homes, absorbed in the schedules we’ve built up, sometimes it’s hard to imagine the expectations and responsibilities that riddle the lives of higher-ups. When we learn about political scandals and outbreaks in the news, some faces and names are hard to connect with trouble and we may even be jealous of the easy lives of these celebrities. Some of us speculate about them and think we know what it’s like to be in their shoes. But when I opened the pages of Born Again, I was given the raw reality of life in politics from an inside point of view.

Charles Colson was, bluntly speaking, Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man.” Following Nixon’s reelection Colson was eager to do anything the president asked, and was described as being a man that would allegedly “run over his own grandmother.” But as time went on, and the public’s hate for him grew deeper, Colson began to doubt his place in the White House. There was something missing, and he grew restless.

Then the infamous Watergate scandal plunged him into a nightmarish world of accusations, rumors, threats, and indictments. Only a few people Colson saw seemed to have the peace about them he wanted. These people were Christians; people who relied on Jesus for satisfaction rather than money and political power. A series of non-coincidental events led to Colson’s salvation in the God that these strong men based their lives upon. Colson started seeing the problems in his lifestyle and began changing them.

But this was not met the way he had hoped for. The public mocked him for his newfound faith, and things grew hopeless as Colson was indicted for activity in the Watergate scandal and everything pointed to federal prison. But when his sentence was carried out, Colson found fervent Christians mixed in with the crude criminals in the cells of various jails. Suddenly his life had taken a new turn—here was a way to be a shining light for Jesus in the shadows of prison. Together with a band of like-minded brothers, Colson witnessed the miracles of God at work in prison and realized that this was the life he had been looking for all along.

My eyes were opened to the grimy details of White House offices, shadowy jail cells, and Washington courthouses. Through Chuck Colson’s detailed account in his autobiography, Born Again, I was inspired by the simple faith of average men. These people knew what it was like to walk with God, and to be his personal tools. They weren’t distressed over current events or public belief; they were born again, ready to be used however God wished.