Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)
- TITLE: It is Well
By Ruth Neilson
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When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Hello, welcome to my cellblock and please excuse my singing. It’s the one thing that I have left that is my own. You see I am locked away in jail, because of what I believe. I am a Christian and I am proud of that...
What is that? Why am I arrested? You want to know my story? I can’t refuse you. But, are you sure you want to hear it. It is not for the faint of heart—then again, no story like mine is for the faint of heart.
This is my account of the night I was arrested with ten of my brothers and sisters. Listen and may you take courage. Listen and learn what happened that fateful night.
It was a normal evening, choosing to go and hear about my Jesus-choosing to learn how to become a better Christian. I maybe be a new believer, but I am willing to give everything up for him already.
A small group of us gathered in a back room of an office building. We could barely fit all ten of us in there. It was cramped and dark—we were lucky to have two small flashlights with us, one for each end of the room. It was also impossible to differentiate facial features; instead, we learned each other’s voices and each other’s songs.
We opened our service the same way. Pastor opened us in prayer and with a song, “It is Well.” That was our motto. Weekly, different people would vanish from the church and we had to remember that God had everything under control.
The lady with soft-high pitched voice who always spoke encouraging words to the younger ones by whispering, “Keep on singing, little one. Keep on singing.” She was missing that night, and now I know why.
People were constantly being arrested and some just stopped attending out of fear. But I wasn’t afraid. I was hungry for more knowledge; knowledge that the government could not give me.
We were sharing our stories...to encourage each other to stand up for our Jesus--and in-between the stories we were singing hymns. Pastor got up and began to tell us how he was threatened at the new church that had been planted with being arrested, except that this time he was also threatened with death.
But he wanted to keep on singing of our Jesus.
There was a pause and the pastor started to pray aloud once again. Gunshots broke through the air, causing the singing to cease. Orders were shouted as the door was broken down. Men dressed in black uniforms swarmed the cramped room.
Pastor was killed in the raid—the first time I saw him in the real light, he was covered in blood. One by one, we were dragged from the room, past his body. One by one, we were asked if we were to denounce our Jesus. No one did—until the at end, when one girl smirked at us. She had betrayed us to the government for a fee...
“You had your chances.” She spat out at us. She then turned to me, and I recognized her as a cold chill ran down my spine...it was my neighbor. “And you led me right to them.”
I closed my eyes. “No, I didn’t lead you to them.” I whispered with an unusual boldness. “My Jesus led you to them in one last attempt to--” My words were cut off with a sharp slap across the face. Without another word, we were escorted away, while being beaten.
But my soul kept on singing, It is well with my soul.
That is my story. I have been beaten and left to rot away in this prison cell. No one remembers my name, but I hope and pray that people will remember my voice and the song that continues to sing in my spirit. What the government meant to destroy me with, my Jesus has only strengthened me through it.
“Keep on singing, little ones...”
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul
It is well...
It Is Well By: Horatio G. Spafford, 1873.
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