It’s been months and we’re still praying for deliverance from this plague. What is God up to? We’re ready to celebrate Christmas, but we’re facing a long winter ahead.
Is the Lord trying to prepare us for what’s next (whatever that is)? Does God want to teach us about something greater than deliverance?
Did you know that the most common prayer request from suffering Christians from around the world is: “Please pray that God will give us the strength to overcome this hardship in ways that will honor him.” They don’t ask for deliverance; they want to “overcome evil with good” (Roman 12:21).
Richard Wurmbrand knew all about social isolation. He was tortured in a Romanian prison for 14 years. “In solitary confinement,” he wrote, “we awoke when the other prisoners went to bed. We started with a prayer, a prayer in which we traveled through the whole world … The Bible tells us about one of the great joys we can have, even in a prison cell: ‘Rejoice with those that rejoice.’ I rejoiced that there were families somewhere who gathered with their children, read the Bible together, and told jokes to each other and were so happy with each other. Somewhere there was a boy who loved a young girl and dated her; I could be happy about them. There, they had a prayer meeting; and there was somebody who studied; and there is somebody who enjoyed good food. We could rejoice with those who rejoiced.”
Is there something greater than deliverance? Once while lying on the planks of his bed, Richard remembered Jesus saying, “When you are persecuted … for the Son of man’s sake, rejoice, in that day and leap for joy.” He said to himself, “Leap for joy, I have not done this.” So he jumped! “I came down from my bed and I began to jump around.” The warden just happened to look through the peephole. He thought Richard had finally lost it. The guard immediately entered, quieted him down and said, “You will be released … everything will be all right. Just remain quiet. I will bring you something.” He brought Richard a big loaf of bread. “Our portion was one slice of bread a week,” said Richard, “and now I had a whole loaf, plus cheese … It was beautiful to look upon.”
“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5). Leap for joy, dear friends! (Yes, like Richard, really do it)!
I think King Jesus is preparing us for what’s next (whatever that is). Overcoming is greater than deliverance! That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.