Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)

HIS STORY IS INSPIRING. Zhang Rongliang is the founder of one of the largest churches in China. It is reported that over ten million members point to him as their spiritual leader. Because of this, Zhang has met great persecution. In December 2004, the Chinese authorities took Zhang into custody, where he remained for seven years and six months. His crime was being a believer in Jesus Christ. However, Zhang testifies that he does not see those years in prison as wasted time. When news of his imprisonment got out, individuals from all around the globe pleaded for his release. Thousands of letters were written on Zhang’s behalf, and thousands more were praying for his freedom.

Thus, I was surprised when I read what Zhang wrote to one of his Christian friends, “I am happy that you and others tried to arrange for my release but, in one way, I am happy that you failed.” What? Happy to be in prison? How is that possible?

Zhang continued, “You almost made a big mistake.” He went on to relate that God used him to start up a church in the prison, where he and 5,000 other men were being held. Zhang is happy that God has used him in the midst of persecution and imprisonment. His story shows that we can praise God even amid difficult situations.

Name the most difficult situation you face and praise God in it.

Jim “Umf” Lo is the coauthor of Unholiness: Overcoming the Forces That Attack Your Soul.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.