I’m enjoying “The Fire of Delayed Answers” by Bob Sorge. In the third chapter, he talks about being a prisoner of Christ and gives great examples of both physical imprisonments as well as other things that chain us (finances, health, careers, etc).
As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (by the way, if you haven’t read his bio by Eric Metaxas you’re missing out). Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for two years by Hitler and executed just 23 days before the Germans surrendered.
One of the remarkable things is that Bonhoeffer actually made it to America and could have avoided imprisonment, but he felt compelled to go back.
How many of us would have returned under such conditions?
There was no way Bonhoeffer could have known exactly what was coming when he returned, but he did know that it wouldn’t be pleasant. Anyone speaking against Hitler, and for Christianity, was in danger of some type of persecution.
I just finished “Letters and Papers from Prison” by Bonhoeffer, and to be honest, it was not my favorite book.
One of the reasons is that for the first time I heard the man’s thoughts- not just his devotionals or his bio- but his actual thoughts, emotions, and struggles. He became real.
This man of God- willing to be martyred- struggled with what Sorge calls, “…the sheer wastefulness of it all.” (pg 50)
He wanted to DO something. To be useful. He was frustrated.
However, throughout most of Bonhoeffer’s imprisonment, he was confident he would be released. He held onto that hope as he made the most of his situation by drawing closer to God.
“God is using your imprisonment to perfect the wine of your live and to prepare you for greater fruitfulness.” (pg 49).
Bonhoeffer didn’t get to see his much fruit produce…but his testimony and writings have changed numerous lives.
Bonhoeffer wasn’t sad/angry/scared/frustrated/etc the days leading to his death. God had prepared him for that moment. That’s why he was found leading a sermon and praying shortly before being taken from his political prison to one notorious for executions.
Here’s one of the last known quotes from him: “This is the end. For me, the beginning of life.”
While few are actually chosen by God to give their lives, we all are held prisoner at some point and in some way. It’s one of God’s tools to mature us.
Knowing that, we shouldn’t fight against it, but embrace it, knowing we are being refined as gold.
There’s a reason for your confinement. A reason God has told you to “wait”.
Trust God. HE is good. HE is trustworthy. HE designed your prison.
Like Job 12:14 says, “If He imprisons a man, there can be no release.”
Prison won’t last forever though. There is an end. So have hope…even if you can’t see it, you’re becoming more like Christ with each passing day.
“Hope is your natural response when you see the character of Jesus developing in yourself.” (pg 60)
Join the Book club discussing, “The Fire of Delayed Answers” by Bob Sorge, by either grabbing a copy of the book and joining the weekly discussions and/or leaving a comment below. You can read more about this chapter from: Jason, Sarah, Rick, Dusty, Keri, Glynn, and Joell. Most post on Wed- sorry for any confusion.