This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the heart of Sister Maria (from Mozambique. Sister Maria had been imprisoned under severe circumstances. Because of her experienced peril as a Christian, she has used a pseudonym), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
In all the time I was imprisoned I never felt alone. When loneliness threatened, I started to talk to my Lord. It was within those thick walls, cutting me off from my contact with everyone else, that I experienced, more than ever before, that nothing could cut me off from God.
I also realized that God must have allowed my imprisonment for a purpose--to bring other people the message of salvation in Christ Jesus, those who otherwise might never have heard it.
Instead of looking at my difficult circumstances, God lifted me above them. His Spirit filled my whole being, enabling me to testify to the other prisoners. Within one year twenty five of them accepted Christ as their Savior.
'God's Word is not chained'. It even sets our spirit free in times of bondage and imprisonment.
A criminal in the eyes of men, an ambassador in the eyes of God.
'Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see.'
A moment of introspection: "Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see." In her prison cell, what could Sister Maria see? There is a song that asserts that "those who see light can walk in the dark." Was it such Light which enabled her to see during that long incarceration? She says that is so. When she was lonely, she prayed to her Lord. Strengthened by His presence, and upheld by His righteous right hand, she felt connected to her maker. The words of the apostle Paul in Romans 8:35-39 come strongly to mind in describing her assurance in Christ. In her dark and dank prison cell, she might have joined us in a chorus of "Open Our Eyes" for which the first verse begins: "Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus, to reach out and touch Him and say that we love Him..." Surely Sister Maria desired to experience the reality of Jesus in her prison--to overcome that dread Doubting Castle (inhabited by the giant Despair; [from a recommended reading: The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan]).
But Sister Maria's testimony rests not merely on experiencing Jesus Christ within that horrid place; no, her faith multiplied itself as her eyes in prison were opened and she saw with Christ's eyes the lost souls around her. She says it in these words: "I also realized that God must have allowed my imprisonment for a purpose--to bring other people the message of salvation in Christ Jesus, those who otherwise might never have heard it." Her eyes saw what Christ saw in that benighted prison. And she did not waver, but acted on what she saw. And within one year, twenty-five souls rejoiced in her reaching out and touching Christ (through rescuing these languishing persons into the light of God's kingdom). Active sight. Sight that reaches out and touches those in need (and thereby touching Christ; Matthew 25:36-40). Sight that shares Christ's heart. Sight that in its expression strengthens its roots in faith. Sight which in its expression bears out the Apostle Paul's assertion that "...God's Word is not chained."
What about our own sight? Is it a passive ego-centric exercise? Does it understand that as Christians we too may "see" our coming suffering for Christ's sake and recognize God's purpose in such travail? I would recommend a DVD entitled "The Coming Persecution of Christians in the West" filmed by John Loeffler (Steel on Steel Productions; www.steelonsteel.com) Is our vision enabled and empowered through our relationship with Christ? "Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see." Through Christ, God opens our eyes. If we desire it, and nurture our desire through our daily walk with the Lord, we too may come to see more clearly through His eyes. May our sight truly be active for the Kingdom of God. May we too understand the purpose God has for us. And may our sight be our amen: Revelation 7:12 (ESV) "...saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”