“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” (Hebrews 13:3 NLT).

Do not ask me, Oh God, to remember unpleasant things. It’s bad enough that there is disease, strife, and hatred everywhere. I don’t have to strain my eyes to see the dark side of this world. So, if you don’t mind, I will take a pass and live happily ever after for once.

I would rather remember good things, like the first words my daughter ever said to me. I care not for the last words of a dying saint.

I would rather remember pleasant times, like my honeymoon in the Bahamas. Don’t make me think of husbands taken by force from their brides on their wedding day.

I would rather remember the spaces where I ran free, like the places I went as a college freshman unshackled from the watchful eyes of my parents. Why think of a stranger in a dungeon somewhere on the other side of the world?

I would rather remember the joy of giving, not the sting of being taken. I want to think of large families and music, not widows and sorrows.

I would rather remember feasts and friends, not feuds and foes; nights of joy, not sights of sorrow.

I want to hear the sound of peace not the drums of power, steps of merriment not the march of trouble.

So why do you say, “Remember those in prison, as if you yourself where in prison with them”?

How is that even possible?

“Every time you bow your knees and every time you pray for my people who suffer, you are there with them. The same Jesus that brought you happiness is the reason that brought them pain.”

“Whenever you close your eyes and ask for the hands of evil doers to be stopped, you’ve joined my suffering church everywhere.”

“When you open your mouth and shout their tortures, you’ve given them strength to live another day. My Spirit whispers to their spirit that someone cares. When you see their pain, you see my Son upon the cross.

“My God, my God. You’ve put me this side of the globe. Why? Why am I not them and them, I? I can no longer airbrush away the plight of your persecuted church around the world.”

“So today I repent and pledge to remember the millions of my brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for Christ. I pray for them as if their wounds were carved in my own body.”

“And I ask you to keep me free – not from trials but from the possibility of denying this Savior who purchased me with His blood. And should persecution ever fill my cup, may I have the courage to drink it.”

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'” (Revelation 21:3-5).

Pastor Ivanildo C.Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, PA