Keep me, o LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men.
You shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 140:4; 32:7.
Joshua, the pastor of an African church, was to be executed in prison. He had incessantly preached the message of God’s love and forgiveness. But the secret police had informed the dictator that the church was growing, and orders were given for the pastor’s arrest. Joshua knew that prisoners were tortured before being executed and that many broke down in the process. He cried to the Lord, “I am afraid, help me Lord. I am not afraid of death, but of being tortured before dying. Please make the first blow mortal!” Joshua told how God intervened. “Suddenly a light lit up my cell, and I heard a voice saying to me, ‘You aren’t alone, I am with you!’ All my fears disappeared. I fell on my knees, praising the Lord. I must have been singing very loudly, for the door of my cell opened and two policemen dragged me out. I thought the moment of death had come for me, but I went on speaking to the Lord. When the officer saw me, he said to the policemen, ‘Have you heard how he sings? That man is completely mad. There’s no point in killing him. Throw him out.’ A moment later I was free!
That believer shared the experience that many others have often had: “The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121:8). A similar account in the Bible tells how a prison governor and his family found faith after two inmates had been singing the praise of God (cf. Acts 16:23-34).
Image: By Palma il Giovane – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4204894