Leonard Griffiths, in his book “God in Man’s Experience” quotes a magazine article published in “The Christian Century” in which was described a group of missionaries taken captive during the Korean war and interned for 2 years by the communists, who did their best to break them. Lawrence Zellers was one of the missionaries who, with his fellow prisoners, endured ghastly situations of depravity, fear and suffering, disease, torture, suicide and death. Of this horror Zellers said: “I look back on those years of captivity as one of the most rewarding periods in my life, from a spiritual point of view”. He told how noticeable was the difference between the prisoners who had spiritual fibre and those who lacked it. The latter gave up easily, lost all hope, sought refuge in suicide, especially in the winter of 1950 when death came simply by missing 3 or 4 of the terrible meals. The Christians also faced this temptation to end it all, and would have given in to it except, as Lawrence Zellers said: “That he had a power stronger than himself, even stronger than the influence of communism which held them captive and this power was reaching down to the depths of his soul supplying him with the will to carry on.”
Even in a human hell God is able to change those who endure until God changes the circumstances and incredibly brings stability and peace in the midst of utter depravity. Unfortunately the only evidence available of this surprising resource is personal experience.
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life Psalm 16: 8-11
For those who this day dwell in a human hell, we pray, empower them, until you release them, O Lord.
Now read Job Chapter 6.