Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
~ Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
The first thing most Christians think of when they hear or read the word, “persecution” is torture. And indeed torture is what many persecuted believers experience. Helen Berhane was kept in shipping container prisons for almost three years because she would not deny her faith. She was beaten so severely she could not even walk. Other times Helen was chained for hours outside in the severe heat of the sunshine.
One tine after a full day of being chained outside, she was handcuffed and thrown into an old rusty shipping container full of holes. She lay on the icy floor in her thin dress. With no blanket, she soon began shivering. Her whole body ached from the cold and the beating she had received. She feared she might die from the freezing cold so she composed this song and sang it repeatedly throughout the chilly night:
I love you, that’s why I draw myself closer to you.
I know that it’s worth following you.
I am not only ready for prison, but I trust you until death.
Even in a closed space or in a pit I will not surrender to evil spirits,
Not even if I am bound or I am chained and I am suffering from cold,
I will sing and I am not going to tire of singing, nor give up.
My heart is burning with your love,
And my heart declares I will never stop respecting you or lifting you up.
I will sing again and again,
I will sing a melody for you,
My soul is pleased to sing for you.
RESPONSE: I will praise the Lord today and every day—regardless of my circumstances.
PRAYER: Pray for all Christians who today are persecuted by being tortured. Pray they will respond as Helen did.
1. Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale (Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), p. 52.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.