Friday, March 23rd, 2018
At 2 a.m. on June 1, 2016, Shawn Tyler Benson let a friend stick a hypodermic needle in his arm and shoot him up with methamphetamine. At 2:30 a.m. that same morning, he shot Cheyenne Clough in the back of the head, execution style, as she lay wounded on the ground in a county park south of Buffalo, Minnesota. I was in the courtroom last Tuesday when he confessed. He will be sentenced in May to 40 years in a state penitentiary.
As depraved and evil as he was then, he is redeemed now, saved in the Wright County Jail during a Gideon Bible study on a Sunday afternoon. From murderer to saint. A miracle. Only God could do that.
I told Shawn last Sunday that I was uplifted by his ever-present smile. He told me that was the Holy Spirit smiling out. Praise God for his work in this young man. Praise God for this miracle. Shawn now witnesses to other inmates in the Wright County Jail and is an inspiration to them. He’s also an inspiration to me. There’s no other explanation of this incredible turn-around than the awesome mercy and grace of God, who did not give up on Shawn after his gruesome murder.
Though Shawn is safely tucked away in the hand of God, my heart was burdened with what happened to Cheyenne. Did he send her to hell, unsaved and unforgiven? She was a meth addict that lived in the same house Shawn did, with three other women and three other men. What hope was there for her? I couldn’t shake my concern for her eternal destination.
Then, amazingly, beyond any chance of coincidence, way beyond, God gave me the answer to my question last Thursday afternoon, in a Caribou coffee shop on Highway 55 in Buffalo, during a chance meeting with a person I had never met before. I’ll tell the rest of the story in next Tuesday’s blog. Stay tuned.