Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
~ Hebrews 4:16 ~
The Bible tells of men and women who believed in and trusted God. In Acts 16 we learn that Paul and Silas were in a Philippian dungeon, in stocks, and in pain from being severely beaten; but instead of bemoaning, they pray and sing hymns to God! The result is an earthquake, the salvation of the jailer and his household, and their release.
Why did Paul and Silas respond in this way? What was it about the Lord that caused them to sing songs of praise? What would have been my response to doing something good and then being unjustly punished and imprisoned?
What do we do when things beyond our control slam into our lives? Not all of us are called to be a Paul, Silas, or a present day, Saeed Abedini—who is in an Iranian prison—for bearing the name of Christ. Yet, he clings to God while he is beaten and his life is threatened. Could it be that Saeed knows, as well as Paul and Silas did, the presence of the living God?
According to Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 23 reminds us that He is with us when we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”
We are encouraged to be strong, courageous, not afraid, nor dismayed by the things that affect our lives, what we see around us, or the evil that is pervading the world, but to keep our eyes, hearts, and minds upon Jesus Christ—He is our peace.
Saeed is holding fast to God. He has been in prison for almost three years, not overnight like Paul and Silas; that is a testament to everyone in that prison and to the world of Saeed’s love for Jesus, that He is with him, and that Jesus Christ is God.
God is keeping Saeed just as He kept Jesus during His trial, beatings, humiliations, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. And just as Jesus brought glory to His Father through His life, death, and resurrection, Saeed is bringing glory to Him through his sufferings. He is also earning a crown of glory that is like that of Paul’s and all those who have lived, suffered, and died for Christ.
God has a purpose for everything He allows in our lives; Paul speaks of this to Timothy:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.“ ~ 1 Timothy 1: 8-12 ~
Saeed Abedini is living proof that Jesus Christ is “able to keep what [he has] committed to Him until that Day.” He is also going “boldly to the throne of grace” to receive mercy and find grace to help him endure this period in his life.
Please keep Saeed and other believers who are experiencing persecution and difficulties in prayer.
Lord, we cling to You in order to gain the victory You have for us. None of us are lone wolves, none of us are exempt from Your mercy and grace, and none of us are ever out of Your sight or presence. For Saeed, and other brothers and sisters who are in similar situations, we pray they know Your power through persecutions and difficulties for they are not ashamed of You, they know whom they have believed, and that You are able to keep them.
Lord, may our responses to the things you allow in our lives to be as Paul, Silas, and Saeed’s, in order that others, when they see us trusting, loving, and singing songs of praise to You, trust You with their lives, too. And on those days when we cannot understand why we are suffering, nor know Your presence with us, forgive us for doubting You. Lift up our heads that we may see You; dry our eyes, hold, and comfort us.
Lord, may each one of us be a living testament of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and bring glory to You. We exalt You, Lord Jesus. Amen.