Thursday, April 11, 2013

Scriptures of Hope ~ When the Iron Bolt Slides Shut

Prison walls etched out a small space in my mind's eye. Chains clanged in the distance. The smooth glide of my cell door's iron bolt ended abruptly as it secured the lock. Mocking laughter from my enemy screeched from the dark corners of the prison hall. I tossed and turned as the nightmare transformed my reality into my spiritual battle. In horror, I sat upright in bed. 

"JESUS," I screamed. 

"Jesus," I whispered. 

His Presence calmed me. I snuggled next to David who, by this time, was awake. The nightmare was over. I only wish the battle would end.

What do you do when an iron bolt slides shut, imprisoning you in difficult circumstances? How do you survive? How do you cling to God's goodness?

Geoffrey Bull, a Scottish Christian missionary, was imprisoned for three years by the Chinese Communist government in the late 1940s. Sentenced to solitary confinement, he was tortured mercilessly over and over. How did he keep his sanity? How could the joy of the Lord be his strength?

In his book God Holds the Key*, Geoffrey Bull writes the following:

"I had no Bible in my hand, no watch on my wrist, no pencil or paper in my pocket. There was no real hope of release. There was no real hope of life. There was no real possibility of reunion with those I loved. The only reality was my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Divested of all, He was to become everything to me. He was to break my bars and enlarge my coasts in the narrow room. He was to be my fullest nourishment amidst the meager food. 'My meat," which my captors 'knew not of.' He would make me glad with His countenance. He would let me hear His voice.

"My portion was to be in the contemplation of the Lord of glory in the secret place...To see the King in His beauty must be our one desiring; to hunger, thirst and take our fill of Him. And if He makes us stand in some obscure and darkened corner of His palace yard, we can be sure He puts us there because from that distinct advantage we, with our present stature, will behold Him best whenever He comes passing by."

So. What do you do when an iron bolt slides shut, imprisoning you in difficult circumstances? How do you survive? How do you cling to God's goodness? You kneel before the One who loves you, who suffered and died that you might live. You open your eyes to behold the Lord of glory in the secret place beneath the shadow of His wings. 

And you wait with great anticipation for the moment He passes by and unlocks the prison door.

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works" ~ Psalm 73:25,26,28

*Geoffrey Bull, God Holds the Key (Chicago: Moody Press, 1959).

Father God, in Your great mercy hear our cry. You, Lord are the Comforter, the Lord of lords, the Great I Am. You are all that we need. In a world that is falling apart, in a world where there is no peace - You, Lord, are our peace. Your Presence is sweet. Your Presence is life-sustaining. Your Presence gives us strength. Draw near O God with Your precious Presence and calm our weary souls, for it is in You that we find our rest. We love You Lord...we love You.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a powerful, heart-searching worship video by Jason Upton titled, "Silence". All I can say is, "Wow!"


  1. Oh Nan, I absolutely loved this. I've been in this place before. Thank you for your wealth of encouragement. Love you, precious friend!

    1. Thank you Jamie. It comes from my Jesus :) Love you too!

  2. Jamie is right Nan, your encouragement is priceless.

    1. You're so sweet Mary. I love you. You inspire me :)