One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the
house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze
upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple…Then my head will
be exalted above the enemies
who surround me; at his tabernacle will I
sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will
sing and make music to the Lord. Psalm
27:4, 6

Brother Zhang, a young medical doctor and preacher in Zhejiang,
China, refused
to join the government Three Self Patriotic Church. He was
arrested and spent
eighteen years in prison eating poor food, being beaten
and drowning in the
stench of cellmates. He shares this

“The eighteen years were a tremendous spiritual challenge,
which brought great
blessings I never before thought possible in my life.
Prison officials ordered
me to empty the camp night-soil pit, the prison’s
cesspool. While I had little
experience of physical labor, its hardship and
suffering did not frighten me.
Although most of the other prisoners dreaded
night-soil pit duty as the most
difficult task in prison, I accepted this
assignment without complaint. The
pit stored all the human excrement, both
liquid and solid, from the entire
camp. Once the pit was full, its human
waste steeped until its foul contents
were ripe enough to be used as
fertilizer. Not only did I walk into this
disease-ridden mess to remove it,
but I had to breathe its stench as I scooped
away each successive layer and
dropped hundreds of shovel loads into
collection buckets for others to carry
to the fields.

“The night-soil pit’s pungent odors lingered with the
digger at least three
days, literally surrounding him with an almost
maddening stench. All the
guards and other prisoners avoided the night-soil
pit digger to escape being
overcome by the lingering odor. One reason I could
enjoy working in the
night-soil pit was the solitude. Surrounded only by foul
air and human waste,
I could sing music of praise to God as loudly as I
wanted. And the guards were
never close enough to protest this otherwise
objectionable behavior!

“One of my favorite songs during those days was
‘In the Garden.’ My Chinese
night-soil pit was hardly the garden that the
composer of that hymn had in
mind! But God delivered great happiness to me to
be able to sing His praises
in such earthly misery.”

will sing praises to God no matter how terrible my
circumstances turn out to

PRAYER: Lord, may all Christian prisoners experience the joy of
praising You
in their trials this day.

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