Faithful in the Prison
Written by Robert Truesdale   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:19

                                                                FAITHFUL IN THE PRISON

 

     When you decide to follow Jesus as more than a casual fan, it’s pretty much guaranteed you will log some serious time in dungeons. God has a way of refining us in situations in which there is no way out. We can kick, scream, holler, and threaten to hold our breath ‘till we turn blue (been there, done that), but when God deems it necessary for us to suffer in situations beyond our control, the question that begs and answer for every Christian becomes not so much, “Why am I here” or “How long do I have to stay here,” but rather “How can I be faithful right here where I am?”

     Don’t get me wrong. Some prisons are of our own doing. Some come about because of the malicious actions of those we once thought friends. Some are just because we live in a fallen world. And some are just God’s way of humbling and refining us, to the point where it’s no longer, “Hey look at me!” but rather, “Let me tell you about the one of saved my soul, and saw me through the darkest dungeons of my life”. The various prisons of life give us a testimony. Anything less is just stale information. And that never wins people to Jesus Christ! It has been said that others won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care, but in order to really care, we must’ve tasted some pretty bitter and lonely waters, so that we can speak not just from knowledge, but personal experience. People want and need to know that when their back is against the wall; when your spouse says goodbye, when the teenager goes really wayward, when the boss says your no longer needed, when the doctor says it’s cancer, when your mom calls and says that dad is gone, or that special someone says it’s over, or that baby in the womb no longer has a heartbeat, people need real hope from a real Savior who has real strength for the darkest moments of our lives. And that’s exactly Who Jesus is. Not just a savior, though He is. Not just a healer, though He is. And not just a speaker of truth and grace, though He is. They need to know that He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,” (2 Cor. 1:3) and He is! But they will never know that until you tell them your story and what He has done not only in you, but for you and through you!

     We live in dark and strange times. For all our techno connectedness, people are lonely and living vicariously through social media and reality television (so glad that’s not my reality!) They are hungry and desperate for something real, something lasting. Marriages are nothing more than a breakable contract. Families are broken, disjointed and going in all different directions. People change careers, friendships, cars, and relationships at the mere hint of trouble, challenge, or worse yet, boredom. This is not our home. Jesus even forewarned us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If you are familiar with the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, you know he suffered much at the hands of jealous brothers. Pharaoh’s wife wasn’t much help either! Genesis 39:2 however, records five very important words that we must all remember when suffering through trials, loneliness and troubles. “The Lord was with Joseph.” Put your name in there. Go ahead. It was written for you too, when the roof caves in and the wheels fall off. He is there with you. To guide, strengthen, comfort, direct, protect, transform, humble, and renew! God does not waste one single tear. As a matter of fact, he bottles them up. (Psalm 56:8) He not only knows your pain, He went through it for you! Many on t.v. will tell you that the Christian life is just one big party with blessings rolling in like waves of the ocean. God does bless and He is generous but He also allows suffering to come into our lives. Just ask a guy named Job!  If every day was sunny, we would never grow. And He is far more concerned with us reflecting the character of His sinless Son, than turning us into immature babies who run and hide at the first sign of adversity. “So do not fear for I am with you. I will strengthen you and help you.” (Isaiah 41:10) Pretty much sums it up, don’t you think?