Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
He that dwells, that sits down, in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty; he that by faith chooses God for his guardian shall find all that in him which he needs or can desire. [Matthew Henry]
In 2005, a Vietnamese pastor known as Silas was told by local authorities that he could expect to see trouble if his church continued to operate without a permit. "Be careful," one official told him. "Watch out."
This was a threat as much as a warning. In Vietnam, as in many other Communist (and some Islamic) countries, governments commonly deny or delay church permits, then jail Christians for meeting without a permit.
Silas shot back: "I don't have to watch out or be careful; God will care for us." He went on to thank the official for the harassment and opposition that Vietnamese authorities had meted out, as he felt it had unified the country's Christians.
"Your persecution has made us stronger," he told the officer.
Moreover, the pastor told him that he loved him. "You can shut down our churches, jail us, torture us. It doesn't matter, because we'll still love you," he said. "We'll love you, because God loves you and wants to see you come to know Christ's salvation." Then he delivered the final, loving blow�asking the official if he didn't feel badly about mistreating Christians. Silas told him he suspected it was tearing him up inside.
The official stalked away. Late one night, he came back. When the pastor heard him knock on the door, he assumed he was going to be hauled off to jail. But the official's manner was more like that of Nicodemus visiting Jesus, the pastor said. He needed to talk. He was depressed.
Silas invited him in, and in tears the officer told him how he did, indeed, feel badly about forcibly restraining Christians from worship. Most upsetting, though, was that he feared for his job if he did not beat and otherwise harm Christians. He himself felt mistreated at the office; peers who were lesser officers than he looked down their noses at him, advancing through the ranks by purchasing successively higher positions. The force was rife with such corruption.
Silas told him that God had a sterling plan for his life, and that he would care for him and guide him if he would only follow his son, Jesus. Before the night was over, the official prayed to receive Jesus. The next miracle was that the official advanced to a high position�without bribes. He advanced high enough to know when church raids were about to take place, so he could tip off Silas.
"He would tell us on Saturday that the police were coming on Sunday morning, so they'd come and find nobody there," the pastor said. "Then we'd meet for worship in the afternoon."
These miracles, the pastor concluded, could not have happened without the prayers of believers worldwide. Many other oppressed believers tell of receiving supernatural consolation in the midst of their ordeals. Suffering Christians are actually protected, comforted, and rescued through our prayers.
[Jeff Sellers, "Cure for the IDOP Holiday Blues," ChristianityToday.com (11-16-05) ]