STRENGTH FROM THE BIBLE
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
In Eritrea, the government restricts the freedom of religion of faith groups. The only groupings permitted are the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church and Islam. Everyone who is caught at a meeting of believers outside these four official religious groups, even in a private house, can be arrested, tortured and put under pressure to renounce his faith.
Thousands of Christians are being held at police stations, in containers, at military bases and in prisons. Even though many of them have been held for years, none of them has had a trial. In many cases, Christians are also beaten or abused in some other way.
Isaac is one of these prisoners. He heard about God’s love from soldiers in the military unit in which he was fighting during the war with Ethiopia. On the basis of their testimony, he decided to become a Christian and was secretly slipped a Bible. He buried it in the sand and when he had the opportunity, he read the Word of God somewhere outside the army camp. He tried to do so as inconspicuously as possible, but one day he was discovered.
Almost from his first day as a Christian, he was persecuted. He was tortured and even left out in the burning sun, but he refused to renounce his faith. God’s love and God’s Word had become too important for him. In the end, he was locked up, just like other Christian prisoners in Eritrea. He has become a living legend, because he has held on to his faith.
A number of Christian prisoners, who are being held in containers, have been given Bibles in secret. They have divided them into portions, and in this way, each believer has a small part of the Bible. When the container is closed, it is too dark to read. But as soon as the doors are opened to let in some air or to hand out food, something amazing happens. The prisoners do not immediately run outside for fresh air or to eat. First they inconspicuously hold their portions of the Bible to the light in order quickly to be able to read a few verses and to be strengthened by God’s Word.
RESPONSE: Today I will treasure my freedom to read and meditate on God’s Word.
PRAYER: Lord, I pray Your Spirit of Peace upon my brothers and sisters in prison today in Eritrea. May they be encouraged by Your Word!
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.