For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
In Eritrea, Helen Berhane, with more than twenty other young women, was imprisoned in a shipping container that held only eighteen people. In her book, Song of the Nightingale, she shares what happened:
When [the guard] had locked us in and left, many of the women were furious and upset, and began to complain and cry. I tried to find ways to encourage them, and to make our situation more bearable. I encouraged everyone to sit on the floor in a circle and I began to speak to them.
‘Remember that the walls of Jericho came down because of praises. If we keep complaining, we cannot win. Instead we must continue to pray, praise and sing. Satan wants to use discouraging words as a weapon against us, so we must continue to praise God in all circumstances.’
I could see some of the women nodding.
I continued, “When the Israelites were approaching the Promised Land they sent spies ahead. Many of them returned saying that the people were so huge the Israelites could not hope to beat them, and so they cried all night. But crying and complaining cannot solve our problems. Let us be like Caleb and Joshua. The larger our enemies are, the more of a feast they will make for us! Just think about the woman who suffered from bleeding and who believed that if she only touched the hem of Jesus’ robe she would be healed. In the crowd she was the one who had faith and it was rewarded. We should not be like these people endlessly fighting amongst themselves. We should just reach out to Jesus and have faith.
This helped us to feel more accepting of our situation, and so we got into the habit of talking about the Bible, praying and singing in the container every day.
RESPONSE: Today I will pray, sing, and talk about the Bible rather than focus on my discouraging situations and relationships.
PRAYER: Lord, may I use Your Word as an encouragement to endure with hope in You.
1. Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale (Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), pp. 38-39.