When the revolution swept through Cuba, brushing aside the corruption but bringing a new form of dictatorship under Castro, Jose refused to buckle. He didn’t endorse the revolution and he spent 20 years in prison for his free-thinking.
Today, Jose is 70 years old and works quietly on his farm. He came out of prison with literally nothing and worked his way back with the help of God.
And Jose knows that God protected him in prison and has blessed him now. He takes pride in the animals on the farm – including a beautiful gaited black stallion – and wanted to share what he has with us when we visited the family farm near Havana.
Many, after 20 years in prison, would be bitter or broken. Jose is neither.
He reminds me of another Jose – Joseph of ancient times. That Joseph was unfairly imprisoned as well, accused of crimes he never committed. Yet God protected Joseph and used him to provide and honor others.
In a smaller scale, Jose has the same privilege. Today, he lives in the midst of a banana farm with fresh pineapple available for breakfast. He can pull mangoes from a tree outside the back door and he can work on the farm.
He is surrounded by family that he is influencing. Not all are believers but how will they resist his wiry determination?
Joseph named his first-born son Manasseh, because “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house.” (Gen 41:51)
Today, Jose lives under a clear sky able to live and work with his family in a beautiful place. I think he would say the same thing about God. God overcomes our hardships. God can overcome a prison sentence and he can set us free.