By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remember Zion. (Psalm 137:1)
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. (Acts 16:25)
Liberty is a gift of great value to humanity, which you realize best when it is lost. For the followers of Christ there is always liberty, joy and victory whatever the circumstances may be.
Jeremiah gives an example of a situation when liberty is lost. There is mourning, crying, desolation and bondage (Jeremiah 33). The captured in Babylon echo this feeling of mourning when they remember Zion and the destruction of their homeland. "How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?" (Psalm 137:4). "We sat and wept" (Psalm 137:1).
But what a different picture of glory, joy and hope is presented by Isaiah when he announces the end of captivity (Isaiah 12). Sing with joy, and feast, for captivity has ended. There will be no more slavery. What Isaiah is saying is that we need to leave our bondage behind and live in optimism, even if all the circumstances are against us. That is what Paul and Silas did. They changed night into day from the prison in Philippi. They turned their prison into a church and their crying into a song of joy.
Let us acknowledge our painful conditions, yes, but let us not stop there. The more we concentrate on our sorrows, the more we will cry. Let us lift up our eyes to the Lord. He will change our wailing into dancing. He will remove our sackcloth and clothe us with joy (Psalm 30:11).
Lord, open our eyes that we may see.
Horacio Herrera from Cuba. Because of his leading role in the Cuban Church, he writes using a pseudonym.
Copyright [C] 1995 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
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Day by Day with the Persecuted Church
compiled by Jan Pit with a forward by Brother Andrew (paperback, revised 2000)
Compelling wisdom from the pen of actual believers living amidst persecution, you'll be connected to the suffering, courage, and depth of life that exists in the harshest places in the world. Each of these 365 thought-provoking devotions will deepen your understanding of Christian persecution and provoke you to pray for our brothers and sisters with a new found depth.