‘The Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.’ Acts 20:23 NIV
About 75 per cent of believers now live in developing countries, often in anti-Christian environments. Xu Yonghai is one of them. He worked to see the legalisation of house churches in China. The government responded by locking him up for two years in an cell 2.4 metres square in a Beijing prison. There was no bathroom, only a pipe in a corner from which water flowed onto the concrete. ‘My cell was the last stop for prisoners sentenced to die,’ he said. ‘At times there were as many as three other prisoners in the tiny damp room, awaiting their date with the executioner.’ Yonghai survived through prayer, meditation and writing. Using a bar of soap to write on the walls of his cell, he outlined the major points of a book about God. When he was finished, he committed the thoughts to memory, and upon his release he turned his prison notes into a fifty-thousand-word book entitled God the Creator. More often than not, your difficulties and hardships confirm you’re in the will of God rather than out of it! Paul writes: ‘I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me―the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace.’ (Acts 20:23–24 NIV) Note the word grace. No matter how difficult the will of God may be, you can accomplish it by drawing each day on His limitless supply of grace.
SoulFood: 2 Chr 35–36, 2 Jn, Mark 8:14–26, Ps 119:169–176, Prov 22:20–23
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023