Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff--they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 NRSV)
David Jacobsen was a hostage in Beirut for seventeen months. He was head of the largest hospital in West Beirut, when, one day in 1985, three men in hoods and wielding machine guns took him captive. Bound and gagged, he was taken from one hideout to another. He spent most of his time on a cold, dirt floor, chained to the wall. Once a day he was fed a tepid, unpalatable mush of watery rice and lentils.

As an American, Jacobsen was hated by his captors. Instead of breaking his spirit, though, he became stronger. He wrote, "I discovered that no one's faith was weakened by the hell we found ourselves in... We hostages, with the guidance of Father Jenco, a captive Catholic priest, and Reverend Benjamin Weir, founded the Church of the Locked Door, a name we chose with some ruefulness." Jacobsen found strength even when he was held against his will in horrible conditions. "Grasping hands, we'd quote Scripture and pray," he wrote. "Oddly, our guards seemed to respect this ritual. Our togetherness in prayer showed me that when the Holy Comforter is called, He answers."

Our life's challenges may be great or small, but in prayer God brings comfort.

Lord Jesus, help me to bring comfort to someone in need today. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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