EXPERIENCING GOD IN THE PAIN

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

In these days we are hearing of amazing faith and faithfulness in times of much suffering for Christians and persecution in various parts of the world. Stories from China, Iran, Iraq and others parts of the world are inspirational.

In these days we are hearing of amazing faith and faithfulness in times of much suffering for Christians and persecution in various parts of the world. Stories from China, Iran, Iraq and others parts of the world are inspirational.

Today I want to share with you a poem that I have received in the past few days. It is written by a Christian lady, Zhang Xiuhong, in China, who has been victimised for her faith and been sentenced to five years in prison. It perfectly sums up much of what Paul has said about suffering.
This year
I didn’t hear the sweet voice of my baby,
I didn’t embrace the wanderer come back from afar,
I didn’t see my loved one’s thin and weak figure,
I didn’t have heart-to-heart talks with my sister,
I didn’t taste the delicious food prepared by my mother-in-law,
I didn’t bask in the rays of the morning sunlight,
Or take a stroll as the sun sets.
Or ride on a high-speed train to go somewhere.

This year, the sound I often heard,
Was the slam of metal doors, sharp and piercing,
This year, the sight I often saw was hopeless eyes,
This year, the food I had every day was the unchanging “three dishes and a soup,”
This year, the farthest I went was less than 1,000 meters [approximately 3,281 feet] away,
This year, I received a staggering fine,
This year, I saw the judge of my case twice, not at the court, but where I’m being detained.

Was this a tough year for me? Painful? Lonely? Living each day like a year? Absolutely not!
This year, I was never in a dark place while waiting; the sun above the clouds shined upon me and nourished me;
This year, I was never homesick;
This year, I enjoyed the bounty of grace because my trust in the Lord who called me brought me unspeakable glory and joy;
This year, the world drifted farther away from me;
This year, my Lord drew ever closer to me;
This year, I received the fruits of the Lord’s Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control;
This year, I bathed in His love;
This year, my soul broke free from the metal bars of prison and soared in the Kingdom of God;
This year, I lived in hope and divine promises….”

Would you take time to pray today for those who are suffering for Christ?