Girish was heartbroken. Within a day he had seen his world crumble and it was too much for him to take. He still remembered his fiancé watching him as he was being taken away by the police just a day after their engagement.
Girish and 17 others were accused of murder; something which they had not done. Many of the persons indicted along with Girish did not even have the slightest idea that they will be booked for something about which they were clueless. There were questions in everyone’s minds and their faith seemed shaken.
The fact that their minority Christian community had been mercilessly attacked and ravaged in their region did not make it too easy for any of them. They had seen Churches destroyed; homes burnt and heard of Christian women being raped by violent crowds who had attacked Christians without reason or provocation. After all this mayhem, the only arrests that the local administration carried out were of Christians who were victims in the first place. Girish was also arrested in the same vein.
The next two and a half years of Girish’s life was spent in the prison along with 15 other people who were co accused with him. At first they were disappointed, but then they started praying in prison. Soon the prayer meeting became a regular worship service and people started noticing something different about these ‘Christian prisoners’. The jailer realized this too and started treating them well.
After two and a half years had passed, the court finally pronounced all the accused not guilty for there was no evidence against them. But in the meantime, 30 souls inside that remote prison had come to know Jesus personally. They had been baptized as well, and the jailer’s life had been impacted forever with the Gospel.
The bitter pain of prison, persecution and being treated unjustly had given way to joy over 30 souls who now were reconciled to God. Victory had been realised in the midst of the pressured situations and now they were “thankful” that they came to that place.
How we respond to a particular situation decides the outcome.
Viktor E. Frankl says, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Frankl, the founder of logotherapy and the author of the best-selling book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ was also a concentration camp inmate and a holocaust survivor. He struggled with finding meaning in all forms of existence as a reason to continue living.
One of the secrets of the persecuted Church in overcoming suffering and difficult circumstances has been to choose to trust God and responding in Christ likeness.
The positive response to a difficult situation stems from a trust in God and a belief that He will neither abandon nor fail.
Girish and his friends could have given into despair and bitterness, but one of them said even when he was in prison, “Our only hope is to trust in God. It is what keeps us alive and looking for a future.” Instead of giving into self-pity this group reached out to touch others with the love of God. They chose to pray for others instead to curse and in all of this, chose to trust God rather than doubt Him.
Girish today is happily married, not with the girl he was engaged to, for she gave up hope and married another. But he says, “I trusted God and He provided me with the life partner He had for me.”
The Psalmist says in Psalm 7:1, “O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me,” (NKJV)
The Webster dictionary defines trust as an “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”.
In the case of a Christian, that ‘someone’ is God Himself.
The Bible says that those who trust in God will never be disappointed (Psalm 22:5), and calls the man blessed who does so (Psalm 34:8, NKJV). We are urged to keep trusting in God despite facing troubles for doing what is right, for He will never fail us. (I Peter 4:19, NLT)
Something that helps us trust God is the realization that He loves us and everything that he does in our life or allows is motivated by His love. This can be difficult to grasp or can be accepted at face value with child like simplicity.
The fundamental questions about trusting God relates to who He is and can I trust Him? The realization to these questions holds the secret to overcoming our circumstances, whatever they may be.
This is what makes ordinary people in seemingly overwhelming circumstances look extraordinary and makes them react to situations differently. And that reaction holds the key to overcoming.