1786) A Letter From Prison

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Inside a prision in Eritrea

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A pastor imprisioned for his faith in Eritrea (East Africa) recently wrote this letter to his wife (posted January 12, 2018 at http://www.opendoors.org ):

 My dear wife,

     God, by His holy will, has prolonged my prison sentence to five years and four months.  I very much long for the day that I will be reunited with you my dear wife, our children and God’s people in the church.

     My dear, listen to me— not only as a wife, but also as a Christian woman who has come to understand who God is and how deep and mysterious His ways are . Yes!  I love you, I love the children, and I would love to be free in order to serve God.  But, in here, God has made me not only a sufferer for His Name’s sake in a prison of this world over which Christ has won victory, but also a prisoner of His indescribable love and grace.  I am testing and experiencing the love and care of our Lord every day.

     When they first brought me to this prison, I had thoughts which were contrary to what the Bible says.  I thought the devil had prevailed over the church and over me.  I thought the work of the gospel in Eritrea was over.  But it did not take one day for the Lord to show me that He is a sovereign God and that He is in control of all things— even here in prison.

     The moment I entered my cell, one of the prisoners called me and said, “Pastor, come over here.  Everyone in this cell is unsaved.  You are very much needed here.”  So, on the same day I was put in prison, I carried on my spiritual work.

     My dear, the longer I stay in here, the more I love my Savior and tell the people here about His goodness.  His grace is enabling me to overcome the coldness and the longing that I feel for you and for our children.  Sometimes I ask myself, Am I out of my mind?  Am I a fool?  Well, isn’t that what the Apostle Paul said, “Whether I am of sound mind or out of my mind, I am Christ’s!”

     My most respected wife, I love you more than I can say.  Please help the children understand that I am here as a prisoner of Christ for the greater cause of the gospel.

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Philippians 1:12-14  —  Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

Genesis 50:19-20  —  But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid.  Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” 

I Corinthians 4:9-13  —  It seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena.  We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.   We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are honored, we are dishonored!  To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.  We work hard with our own hands.  When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;  when we are slandered, we answer kindly.  We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

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Lord, meet the needs today of Christians around the world in prison for their faith in You.  Help them to glorify You in their situation.  Bless their family members waiting patiently at home.  Amen.

Standing Strong Through the Storm