The world looked on in horror as Canadian Pastor Tim Stephens was thrown behind bars simply for hosting an outdoor worship service.
And although he suffered time away from his family and was forced to endure horrific conditions – he speaks of the mighty way God used him even while in jail.
We know God always has a purpose for our pain, and once you hear how Pastor Stephens was truly able to reach “the least of these” – you’re bound to be encouraged.
God’s Word tells us persecution will come to those who proclaim Christ, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when that day comes.
Christian Life Daily recently reported on the release of Pastor Stephens and his story as a warning for all Christians.
And now, he’s done his first interview since being set free.
Pastor Stephens was honest about the personal discomfort he faced – being confined in an incredibly small cell for 23.5 hours each day, not knowing when he’d be let out to move around.
You can sense his pain as he tells his story.
“You don’t know when you’re going to get out of your cell for that little bit of free time when you can make a phone call. When you can have a shower. It’s very rudimentary. It’s very difficult to try to get comfortable, because you don’t have a lot of necessities. You don’t even have a pillow,” he recalled. “You only have a few blankets and a very thin hard mattress.”
“It’s a very dehumanizing experience,” Stephens said. “Basically, you’re put into a small cage and you’re left there not really knowing what the next coming hours or days or weeks even may bring.”
So many people put in that situation would have given into despair and hopelessness.
Having one’s dignity stripped away and being deprived of freedom can take a toll on a man’s soul.
But Pastor Stephens refused to let despair take control of his heart.
He stayed faithful, and was able to use his time even behind bars to make His name known.
As God always does, He uses us right where we are.
Pastor Stephens recalled even hard-hearted atheists coming up to him, wanting advice or counsel.
“They would call me ‘pastor,’ they would open up about their own problems and want counsel, want advice. Even inmates who were hardened atheists came to appreciate where I was coming from and we developed a good friendship among those other inmates there in jail.”
What an incredible way to reach those in prison with the Gospel!
Of course, true freedom is only found in Christ alone.
Whether a believer is behind bars or walking free, he can take comfort knowing that God is sovereign and always on His throne – and His plans are always perfect.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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