Joy in the Journey Part 1: Learning Joy in Christ from Embattled Believers
David Witt, founder and visionary of SOM International, has traveled to 53 countries around the world—countries where believers are often restricted, marginalized, and persecuted. Despite such hardships, David discovered that the persecuted global body has actually helped him to discover joy in the Lord and instill Christ-like contentment. Consider the following examples from David himself.
Sustaining Inner Joy in Christ – Algeria
I interviewed an Algerian Muslim background believer during one of my visits. I asked this brother. ‘What changed the most in life after you came to Christ?’ He answered, ‘My face.’
He went on to tell me that before knowing Christ, everyone thought he was a radical because his face always wore an intense snarl. Darkness ruled his soul. People were naturally scared of him and avoided him. ‘After Christ found me, I could not help but smile all the time. People began to ask me why I was so happy. Many people could not recognize me anymore.’ This man beamed with joy as he told his story.
Radiant Faces – Romania
I interacted multiple times with Richard Wurmbrand, Romanian pastor and founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. Richard shared with me his story of 14 years in prison for his faith in Christ. ‘I wish I were a painter. I would have painted the faces of the believers I was in prison with. They are the most beautiful faces that I have ever seen. They were beaten, bruised, dirty, and unkept, yet their faces radiated with love.’
Richard and his wife Sabina reflected this heavenly love so much that to this day, the memory of them brings me joy.
Joy in Christ during Difficulty – Iran
One of the most turbulent countries in the world in recent years has been Iran. I have a passion for the Iranian people. My friend from Iran told me about the days of his imprisonment for his faith in Christ. Every day was a struggle of the flesh and crying out to God. During this time, the Lord sent him inmates and even guards who wanted to know more about Christ. These lost souls saw that he had peace and joy that they did not have. He shared with me, ‘I shared Christ with many Iranians during those days. Part of me longs for the intimacy I had with Christ during my days of persecution.’ My friend testified to the joy he had experienced in much difficulty.
Deeper Intimacy Amidst Persecution
One of the clear takeaways for these persecuted believers is that harsh times have brought about a deeper level of intimacy and closeness with Christ.
David Witt has traveled the road of suffering with many hurting souls who have found peace, relief, and comfort in the arms of the Lord.