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December 3, 2012

All the Bitterness Was Gone for the First Time

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 9.57.23 AMIt was after midnight, and the prisoner was tired. He was in the midst of twenty-eight days in solitary confinement in the Iranian prison, praying that God would help him endure. When the knock came on his cell door, he was tired and irritated.

    “Pastor,” said the guard, “I want to talk with you about Jesus.”
    “Go away,” groaned the pastor. “I don’t want to speak with you.”
    “But you have to speak to me,” said the guard. “You are a pastor.”
    The young Iranian guard had many questions. He wanted to know the difference between Christianity and Islam, between the burdensome demands of Allah and the loving call of a heavenly Father.
    For four hours the two men talked, and the pastor explained the Christian faith, salvation from sin through Jesus’ death on the cross, and how he could accept Christ into his life.
    At 4:30 the next morning, the two men prayed together. With tears streaming down his cheeks, the guard accepted Christ. With tears in his own eyes, the pastor welcomed him into God’s kingdom.
    As the guard entered into a new life, the pastor felt a change in his own heart. “For the first time,” he said later, “all the bitterness was gone.” He felt only love for his captors and for the Muslims in his homeland. His ministry increased greatly after that moment.


Furniture that is passed down from generation to generation makes up in sentiment what it lacks in beauty. A special chair that belonged to your grandparents carries special memories that blind you to the stains and spots and other signs of wear and tear. A scuffed and scarred cedar wardrobe once kept by a special relative is a particular treasure of immeasurable worth. In the same way, God can give us a special love for the unlovely. He can help us see worth in the worthless. His love can overshadow another person’s faults—just as he does with your own sins. Try it and see. Ask God to help you love the unlovable by seeing others through his eyes.

Source: Extreme Devotion which is available at our VOM bookstore.

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