But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict (Luke 21:12-15).
They will arrest you and persecute you. In October 2008, Ms. Logan (first name withheld) found herself in a hell that no one would wish on anyone. Her two teen sons were caught up in a neighborhood brawl one evening and were arrested for the murder of another youth. Over the course of the next several of years, they ended up serving some time while waiting for their court date. If convicted, they would have been sentenced to a minimum imprisonment of 20 years.
Just the month before, Ms. Logan served as an assisting minister of Salem Lutheran Church on Chicago’s South Side. Another member told her that day: “You are being prepared by God.” During those days when she felt like she might go insane with worry, anger and confusion, she clung to her faith. She held on to the promise that God had prepared her for this. She prayed and remained steadfast. When people were ready to give up on her sons, she stood by them, encouraging them to pray, to thank God for the blessings they had received, and to keep faith in God first and foremost.
This will give you an opportunity to testify. In 2013, Ms. Logan’s sons finally got their day in court. The Sunday before the trial began, Salem members laid hands on Ms. Logan to express their love and support and prayer that would follow her into the courtroom. As her pastor, I attended some of the trial, as did other members. Witnesses were questioned; experts were consulted. At the end of the week, her sons were found not guilty. In Ms. Logan’s words, “Prayer works. If you stay on God’s path, if you do what you need to and follow Christ, you will see miracles. I’ve seen a miracle in my own life, and now both of my sons are in college and they have jobs too.”
Even today, Ms. Logan talks with emotion about how much that statement about being prepared by God meant to her. She held on to that sentiment when she watched her sons undergo a trial. The person who spoke that statement really didn’t know what she was saying at the time, but somehow God was using her and those words brought Ms. Logan strength.
I will give you words. Sometimes God is at work through our words even when we don’t know it. We say something like “You are being prepared by God” and don’t even know where it came from. When we seek to live faithfully, God gives us the words to speak into whatever circumstance we find ourselves. God guides us as we face trials and difficulty. God turns our tests into a testimony to the miracles that we have witnessed. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. Praise God!
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers