Skull Basher to Brain Healer
by Chuck Colson
Fourteen-year-old Ben was on the fast track to prison. The African-American
youth had no father, he was failing every class at school, and, worst of
all, he had a ferocious temper. He once tore open a classmate's forehead
with a rock, and he even threatened his own mother with a hammer.
But Ben did not end up in prison after all. Instead, he landed in a
hospital, one of the most prestigious in the world. Today he is Dr. Ben
Carson, chief pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
At this year's National Prayer Breakfast, Dr. Carson told the dramatic
story of the way God turned his life around.
The first person to stop Ben's one-way trip to disaster was his mother.
She did two things: She took him to church, and she turned off the TV.
While his friends played in the streets, Mrs. Carson, who had only a third-grade
education herself, made her son read several books a week and submit written
reports on them.
His mother's efforts paid off. Within a year and a half, Carson recalls,
"I went from the bottom of the class to the top of the class."
But there was one thing his mother couldn't control: Ben's terrible
temper. One day he became outraged at another boy. "I had a large camping
knife," Carson recalls, "and I tried to stab him in the abdomen."
But the blade struck the boy's belt buckle and broke. Suddenly Ben realized
what he was doing and was horrified. He ran home, locked himself in the
bathroom, and fell to his knees. "Lord," he prayed, "I cannot control this
temper. It's up to You, I'm giving it over to You."
Ben spent three hours closeted in the bathroom, wrestling with God in
prayer and Scripture meditation. When he finally emerged his temper was
gone?never to return.
In that cataclysmic experience, Carson realized how God could actually
be the father he had lacked. Of course, he knew God was already his heavenly
Father. But, Carson said, "I began to understand that I had [also] adopted
God as my earthly father?somebody that I could go to, somebody who,
if you allow him to . . . [would] control your life, would make it something
Carson did put his life under the Father's control. He graduated from
college and medical school with top grades, and today he is a world-renowned
neurosurgeon. When Siamese twins were born joined at the head, it was Carson
who flew to Europe to perform the remarkable surgery which separated them.
But how differently Carson's life might have turned out. Today more
young black men sit in prison than in college classrooms. And some 90 percent
of prison inmates grew up in fatherless homes, just as Carson did. Apart
from God's grace, Carson says, "I could easily have ended up in prison
You and I need to think of ways we can lead fatherless youngsters to
their heavenly Father. One thing we can do is buy copies of Ben Carson's
auto biography, Gifted Hands, and donate them to school libraries or give
them to fatherless youngsters we know.
Stories like Ben Carson's will teach children about a God who
promises, in the words of the psalmist, to be "a father of the fatherless."