I read Psalm 58 for our Journey Through the Psalms Friday and I can’t help but think about the brother in Christ who is fervent in his faith and love for Jesus but most unfortunately ended up in jail in spite of. What happened to him would break any parent’s heart. I myself was so affected by his story that whenever I hear his beloved father testify in the pulpit about him, I would utter a silent earnest prayer for him.
Such tragic experiences happen because of people who serve the god of this world, as David had written:
Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones?
Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men?
No, in heart you work wickedness;
You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth. (Psalm 58: 1-2)
Because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, we’ll just call this brother Brother J. Brother J has been serving the Lord faithfully in Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry even if he was the only one in the family who did so. Often, he would implore his father to come with him to the worship service and serve God in spirit and in truth. But no matter what he did, his father remained hard-hearted and continued to worship in the way he was raised – before his graven images.
Brother J wanted to help his family financially so he applied for work in China. He got a job easily and the day came that he was to leave for China. But instead of flying straight to China, his agency gave him tickets for Singapore and was instructed to meet with the agency’s representative there before he flies to China. And so Brother J kept his appointment with the one in Singapore. He was given a parcel and was instructed to bring it to China.
At the airport in China, he was found to have illegal drugs in his possession. He was immediately arrested and locked in jail. It turned out that the parcel he received in Singapore contained illegal drugs. They have made this innocent Christ-loving young man into a drug mule (choking back tears).
(You may want to read the first two verses of Psalm 58 again and think about those who are behind this hideous crime, how they keep silent as their innocent victims are hanged).
Back in the Philippines, his family doesn’t have a clue to what has come upon him. But months after he left and they didn’t hear anything from him, they began to despair. They were certain something bad has happened to their son. The father remembered the many times his son invited him to the worship service and he had declined. He was overcome with an overwhelming feeling of repentance. He and his wife decided to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. Later on, they sought counsel from the beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde Almeda. They were advised to offer prayers with fasting, and at the end of it, they would hear news from their son.
Even before Brother J’s parents left the Fasting House in Pampanga, they received a call from their daughter that their son has sent an email. He told his parents what happened to him and beseeched them not to worry for the Lord will never leave him nor forsake him. He told them that because of his good behavior in jail, he has found favor with his jailers and they treat him kindly.
Does this remind you of Joseph or what? (If you want to read the story of Joseph, see Genesis 37-41).
The father later testified that with Brother J’s continued good relationship with the jail authorities and with the other inmates – sharing with them the Gospel and the hope that is in the Lord Jesus Christ, always praising and worshiping in his cell, unwavering in his faith and rejoicing in the salvation that he has received – his original sentence which was death was immediately commuted to life imprisonment, and after many agonizing prayers with fastings of the Church in the Philippines, his jail term was reduced to 16 years. The family, and the Church, continue to pray and expect that Brother J would be out of prison soon, even long before the 16 years is reached.
The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,
So that men will say,
“Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” (Psalm 58: 10-11)