Have you ever stopped to think about what the apostles went through in order to share Christ with the Jews and Gentiles? Have you thought about how many of them suffered in prison for the sake of Christ?
I cannot begin to imagine what they suffered. I do know that there are many countries today where Christians suffer and are persecuted for their faith. We have been so blessed in America to be able to worship freely.
Over the last year I have felt what it is like to be a prisoner. No, not literally, but mentally. The psychological frustration of being “locked” away from people has hit hard. It is prevalent for me as I am not able to go many places. It isn’t for the reason you might think. I am perfectly healthy.
I am grateful and blessed to have a few people in my life who are aware of the reason and care so much that they help me as much as they can. This means I get to “step out” once a week and go into a public place and every couple of months I go to another public place.
This has been extremely difficult on my mental state. Most cannot understand what I am going through. As someone who suffers from social anxiety, you’d think I wouldn’t mind staying home. Oddly, I do miss doing the few things I could do prior to 2020. I think it stems from missing the independence I had to be able to go out and feel productive. Now I have to rely much more on my husband. Although he works full time, and provides so much for us, he stands by me and holds me and does everything he can to help me. I know this is added stress for him. God has blessed me with a wonderful man.
On really difficult days, which tend to be increasing in number, I try to think about how the apostles felt when they were locked up in a prison. They really suffered for Christ.
And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw [them] into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.[Act 16:23 NKJV]
Prisons had to have been filthy, dark, and horrifying back then. Yet, they happily suffered because they knew there was a purpose.
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.[Act 16:25 NKJV]
I know evil does everything it can to break the spirit of the in Christ believer. Evil hates those who love and follow Christ. I do believe that what our nation, and the Church, is experiencing is that hatred, and it surfaces both in physical and mental persecution.
To be strong like the apostles requires full faith in Christ, in His redemption of us. God has overcome this world, and we have a glorious hope coming for us. We just need to make it to that day….and that is only done by keeping our eyes focused on Jesus.
God is the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. You do not give us a spirit of fear. You are our strength and our shield. No weapon formed against us will prosper. You are greater, Lord. In these days where our strength and mental state are tested, help us remember to lean into you. The apostles knew to draw their strength from you. They even sang and worshiped you while imprisoned for sharing the Gospel. Lord, what we are going through right now is nothing compared to what they endured in prison. Help me remember to do what they did. They kept you first. I know I am not the only one suffering by being told I cannot go places. Father, help all of us right now. Help us stay solid in you. You are our saving grace.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
|No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue [which] rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness [is] from Me,” Says the LORD. |
[Isa 54:17 NKJV]