PRAISE IN PRISON
“Why is it that so many Christians sing only once a week? Why only once? If it is right to sing, sing every day. If it is wrong to sing, don’t sing on Sunday.”
The pastor had spent several horrifying years in prison at the hands of the Communist authorities. He was jailed for his belief in Christ, and though he remembered the tortures there, he did not focus on them much. Instead he spoke of the times of joy in the presence of his Lord. He and his fellow Christian prisoners formed a community of praise—in the middle of prison.
“When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us. The Communists were very nice to us. They knew we liked to praise God with musical instruments, so they gave every Christian in prison a musical instrument. However, they did not give us violins or mandolins—these were too expensive. Instead, they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments! When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank).’” What a joyful noise unto the Lord!
To those who have yet to experience it, persecution seems to focus entirely on loss. The loss of freedom. The loss of hope. Even losing one’s life. However, those who have suffered for their faith in Christ overlook what’s missing and focus on new discoveries. They relish what little freedoms they have instead of regretting what they lack. In this story, Communist captors robbed believers of most of life’s freedoms and dignity. However, these stout believers focused on what remained—their joy in the Lord. If it is good to sing to the Lord when you have everything—it is good to sing to him when you have lost it all, too. What will you do today to make sure you do not lose your Christian joy?
–Stacy L. Harp