STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

SUFFERING CAN MAKE OUR LIVES MORE
HOLY
======================================
Our fathers disciplined us for
a little while as they thought best; but God
disciplines us for our good,
that we may share in his holiness. Hebrews 12:10

Christmas is a time of
peace and joy for those who are fortunate enough to
celebrate the birth of
their Saviour in freedom. For Marko and his two fellow
believers it was the fifteenth Christmas that they had to celebrate behind the
bars of a prison
cell in a Muslim country.

The next day some colleagues felt they had to
visit Marko and his friends as
an encouragement and confirm to them once
again the love of Immanuel—God with
us.

Even though they often heard
the saying that a prison cell in the Middle East
is the closest to hell that
you will experience on earth, nothing prepared
them for the sense of
hopelessness that they experienced in that waiting room
of despair.

As
the prisoners entered, it was not difficult to recognize Marko and his
two
friends. Beaming eyes and smiling faces immediately assured them Marko
and
friends knew they had not been separated from the love of
God.

Tears flowed freely as they shared how lonely they were on Christmas
day and
how joyful they were to know that they were not forgotten.

“It
was so difficult yesterday.” Marko spoke softly. “Apart from being
Christian
prisoners in a Muslim prison, it was also a fast day of Ramadan. We
were not
allowed out of our cells and we were not allowed to talk to
anyone.
Fortunately, a week ago the three of us got hold of pieces of a cake
and we
hid them underneath our cushions especially for Christmas day.
Yesterday, when
the fast was broken, we simply walked to one another, held
the slices of cake
together and said “Merry Christmas!”

The visiting
hour flew past and soon it was time to say goodbye. Before being
marched back
to his prison cell, we looked at Marko and asked him a final
question. “What
are you going to do when you get to your cell and are once
again all
alone?

Marko smiled and answered, “I will simply spread the wings of my
spirit and
fly to Jesus.”

RESPONSE: Today I will seek to understand
the biblical principle that
suffering makes our lives more
holy.

PRAYER: Lord, help me, like Marko, to keep my eyes fixed on You
regardless of
my circumstances.

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