Dark and dirty and housing almost seven thousand inmates, the 300-year-old Russian prison was a picture of despair.
Ward Coleman and a team of Americans were visiting the prison as a part of Operation Care Lift, an annual ministry outreach to the people of the former Soviet Union sponsored by the Josh McDowell Ministry.
As Ward approached cell number sixteen, a very small metal flap was unlocked by the guard. Immediately, a face appeared. “The face stunned me,” Ward said. Unexpectantly, it was the face a calm and peaceful man—Victor.
Four years earlier, Victor was arrested, charged with a crime and imprisoned, but never convicted. Yet, he was a man at peace.
For a moment, Victor went to the back of his cell. When he returned to the small window, he handed Ward an amazingly intricate sculpture of Christ on the cross. He said, “Give this crucifix to Mr. McDowell. I’ve read his books. They’ve helped me so immensely in prison.”
Victor explained he’d saved the morsels of bread served with his meals. From those, he molded an ornate cross and a figure of Jesus Christ. For color he used coffee and the vegetables on his plate.
Victor told Ward, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Before, I had a large apartment, money, and I knew influential people. But now, I have Jesus Christ.”
In that moment, Ward thought, Victor, I’d like to be there where you are, because I sense there is more freedom in there than out here.
Victor experienced spiritual freedom through God and His Word. No matter what your circumstances, He promises to do the same for you. Today, you may feel trapped in a pit of despair or a sea of pain. You may be a prisoner of debt or addiction. No matter what it is, God knows. He’s waiting to help.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” 2 Corinthians 4:8
Turn to the Book of Psalms. Dear friend, there’s comfort there for whatever you’re facing. As you read, listen to God’s words of compassion and understanding. Meditate on His truth. It’s food for your soul; it’s the Bread of Life. And He will set you free.
From My Heart is in His Hands by Vonette Bright
“Do your circumstances determine how you experience God, or does your view of God determine how you experience your circumstances?” - Brad Bright
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