Fellowship of Suffering

by Jan Silvious

There are verses in Psalm 37 that I dearly love: "The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty" (vv. 18, 19).

If Helen Rosevere, a missionary doctor to the Congo, had read those words the night rebel soldiers took her captive, there may have been some doubt in her mind that they were really true. But as she endured the atrocities, God Himself taught her she could trust Him. The time was evil, but she did not know shame. Listen to an excerpt from her book, Living Sacrifice:

"Beaten, flung on the ground, kicked-teeth broken, mouth and nose gashed, ribs bruised-driven at gunpoint back to my home, jeered at, insulted, threatened….It was a very dark night. I felt unutterable alone. For a brief moment, I felt God had failed me. He could have stepped in and prevented this rising crescendo of wickedness and cruelty. He could have saved me out of their hands. Why didn't He speak? Why didn't He intervene? And in desperation, I almost cried out against Him: ‘It is too much to pay!'

"In the darkness and loneliness, He met with me. He was right there, a great, wonderful, almighty God. His love enveloped me. Suddenly the ‘Why?' dropped away from me, and an unbelievable peace flowed in, even in the midst of wickedness. And He breathed a word into my troubled mind; the word privilege

"For twenty years, anything I had needed, I had asked of God and He had provided. Now, this night, the Almighty had stooped to ask of me something that He condescended to appear to need, and He offered me the privilege of responding…He offered me the inestimable privilege of sharing with Him in some little measure, at least, in the edge of the fellowship of His sufferings. And it was all privilege."

My friend, the Lord knows your days-the stresses, the strains, the sufferings-and He has promised that no matter how much you have to suffer at the hands of an evil person, you don't have to be ashamed because He is with you in it, taking the abuse and injustice right alongside of you.

Thank God today for knowing what is going on in your life, for His purpose in your pain, and for the comfort of His presence. And while you are offering Him your sacrifice of praise, ask Him to give you eyes to see that He really understands.

from The 5-Minute Devotional Zondervan, © 1991 Jan Silvious.