It was getting late, and the Soviet officer had beaten and tortured Paulus for many hours. We are not going to torture you anymore, he said, smiling brutally when the Christian looked up. We will send you instead to Siberia, where the snow never melts. It is a place of great suffering. You and your family will fit in well.
Paulus, instead of being depressed, smiled. The whole earth belongs to my Father, Captain. Wherever you send me I will be on my Fathers earth.
The captain looked at him sharply. We will take away all you own.
You will need a high ladder, Captain, for my treasures are stored up in heaven. Paulus still wore a beautiful smile.
We will put a bullet between your eyes, shouted the captain, now angry.
If you take away my life in this world, my real life of joy and beauty will begin, answered Paulus. I am not afraid of being killed.
The captain grabbed Paulus by his tattered prison shirt and screamed into his face, We will not kill you! We will keep you locked alone in a cell and allow no one to come see you!
You cannot do that, Captain, said Paulus, still smiling. I have a Friend who can pass through locked doors and iron bars. No one can separate me from the love of Christ.
Despite an uncertain future, we can be sure of one thing: Christ will face it with us. Whether we are going through a private trial or a public grieving, we are never going alone. In contrast, every human companion will fail us at some point. There will be places in lifes journey where they cannot walk with usthe water will be too deep and their understanding would be murky at best. Only Jesus has the ability to pass through the iron bars on our suffering hearts and share these difficult times. Although, in his wisdom, he may not choose to deliver us from our circumstances, his sure presence will see us through them. Smile, knowing you have a Friend from whom you can never be separated.