God’s Plan from a Libyan Prison

Last month I shared with you the story of Richard Peters and his experience in a Libyan prison. Many of you have shared with me how his story had touched you, especially the experiences with the three journalists. So I interviewed Rich again to gain more insight and information about that time. Here is the result of that interview.
If you remember, Rich had developed four different plans to escape from prison and had been praying, pleading, nearly begging the Lord to choose one for him. But the Lord had His own plan for Rich. This was not about Rich and his four different escape plans. No, this was how God wanted to move in Rich’s life and in the lives of those he came in contact with even while being imprisoned. Escape would come in the Lord’s time and in the Lord’s way. You see God had moved far beyond Richard’s existence in that tiny, sweltering cell that had been his world for the past months.
He was physically working out in secret, keeping to the shadows of his cell. He was spending hours praying, talking, bargaining with the Lord. He found he was hungry for God’s word. His Bible and reading glasses had been confiscated when he was arrested. He just wanted to read his Bible and he would ask the Lord daily for its return. He would beg, almost demand the Lord to reveal to him which of his escape plans God wanted Rich to engage in. Then after thirty days at the second prison, the door opened and a Libyan guard handed Richard a plastic bag with his Bible and glasses. He couldn’t believe this miracle. Rich clutched the Bible to his chest and began to weep. This Bible became more precious than life itself.
The 91st Psalm has always been Richard’s battle Psalm, and he just knew that God was on his side when it came to escaping from this misery. Why, would the Lord provide this miracle of returning his glasses and Bible if He didn’t want Rich to escape? But while reading Psalm 27:14, Rich had his heart torn open as to why he was sitting in that cell. God exposed in an instant why not one of his plans had been revealed as “the one” for Rich to implement. None of Rich’s plans for escape had been part of God’s plan for his life. Rich had selfishly tried to move forward on his own and any one of his plans would have brought about his death at the hands of the Enemy. All of the details of his plans had been manipulated and corrupted by the Enemy. And the Enemy had wanted Rich to push forward on his own. The results of doing so now came clear to Rich. If he were to push on with his plans and not the Lord’s, the Enemy would have been victorious! God’s light and wisdom shined down on Rich in that little cell and in an instant he knew, it was not his plans, but it was the Lord’s. Now he would wait on God’s plan for freedom.
Within a few days, Richard heard the cell doors on either side of him creak open and then slam close. Minutes later a voice came through the electrical outlet on the wall between the cells. The voice belonged to a man named Manuel Bravo and he was frightened beyond any fear he had ever known. He was a freelance cameraman from Spain, and he had been arrested with two American journalists who he believed were in the cell on the other side of Rich. Richard went to the opposite wall and lay down next to the electrical outlet. He whispered into the electrical outlet “was there someone there”? Sure enough, a frightened voice whispered back to him. He was American journalist James Foley and he was locked up with fellow American journalist Claire Gillis and they too were veryfrightened.
Throughout that first day Richard would relay messages and information back and forth between the two other cells. As the hours went by, fear seemed to be overwhelming Manuel and James. In their whispered conversations through the outlets, Rich could sense that the Enemy and fear were taking control of the two men. Scripture, prayer, and divine words of encouragement came directly from the Holy Spirit to Rich. He shared verses out of his Bible, he prayed as loudly as he dared with all of them, and encouraged them that the Lord was right there with them. As darkness approached Rich whispered first to Manuel if he knew the Lord as his Savior? “No” came the response. He whispered the same question to James in the other cell, and received the same answer. To Rich “no” meant “no, not yet”.
That night he would share the plan of salvation with Manuel and James, and lead the two frightened men to the Lord. Peace immediately came upon those three prison cells, and the Lord came to cover that place completely. The words of Jesus rang true, “Get behind me, Satan”. God’s plan was now working in Richard’s life and in the life’s of those three frightened and vulnerable people.
A few weeks later all three journalists were released and they were able to make contact with Rich’s wife. For the first time in months Rich’s family, and friends knew he was alive!
Rich still had months of confinement ahead of him, and countless challenges that only with God’s strength would he endure. Torture, starvation, and illness would be his daily routine. But now Rich knew that God was guiding him and God’s plan was unfolding by the moment.
Weeks after regaining his freedom Rich would have a joyous reunion with his three “cellmates”. In a small hotel room in Tripoli they would see each other’s faces for the first time. Laughter and tears would flow without embarrassment.They had shared life altering experiences that would stay with each one of them forever. For James Foley, life would end too early. He would be executed by ISIS criminals in Syria. But as I have discussed with Rich on numerous occasions, we know that Jim went to his death knowing he would have life everlasting with his Savior.
Since I first brought you his story, Rich has been asked to come share more of his testimony with a number of schools, churches, and juvenile detention facilities around the Northwest. If you would like to have Rich come speak to your organization, you can reach him at armorupevangelism@gmail.com or call 208-682-5564.