God is often most visible when things are at their worst

September 11, 2019 by Open Doors in Stories of Persecution

Since the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, many of the people who survived have been interviewed by the press. One man, Steve Gill, lost his father to a heart attack as a young boy and outlived an IRA bomb blast in Britain as well as survived violent San Francisco earthquakes. Gill was executive vice-president at Standard Chartered Bank and had just left his office in the World Trade Center for a breakfast meeting when he had to dodge the glass shards raining down from the North Tower after the plane had hit it. He successfully fled the scene on a ferry bound for Staten Island.

As a Christian, Gill has been repeatedly asked why God spared him but not thousands of innocent mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters. He has no definitive answer. But when reflecting on lessons learned he says, “I saw that God is often most visible when things are most awful, whether it’s Christ on the Cross or the World Trade Center attack killing three thousand people … I don’t know why bad things happen. But I see that God is most present when things are at their worst.”

There are a number of biblical examples. Perhaps Joseph’s situation stands out most. Languishing in a jail on unjust charges, he is even forgotten by those he befriends and helps. At his lowest point, he is brought to Pharaoh to interpret a dream and becomes the second in command of the nation. Ultimately, he saves his people and the Egyptian nation from starvation.

The testimony of the persecuted Church

The persecuted Church also testifies that God is most present in the worst of times. Pastor Wang Ming Dao spent over 23 years in prison in China for his faith. On his release at 80 years of age he said of his imprisonment, “That was my honeymoon with Jesus!”

Pastor Medhi Dibaj, a former Muslim, spent seven years in an Iranian prison with the last few years isolated in a small, cramped cell. On his release he said, “The past few years have been the sweetest years I’ve ever spent with Jesus.”

Liviu Georgescu was a teenager when his father, Costel, was distributing Bibles in Romania during the communist regime. Open Doors asked him what he thought of the time when his father was in prison for his faith.

“It was a very good time,” Liviu said, “because then we had more time and opportunities to give Bibles to people and to talk about the faith. Now there is more freedom, but we have to work harder and put in longer hours in order to get by. This means that we have little time or energy for the faith. There is less interest as well.”

God seems to be most visible when things are at their worst.

This article is part of Open Doors’ daily devotional series, Standing Strong Through the Storm.

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