From Lasting Hope Devotional
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed.
Nelson Mandela emerged from prison not spewing words of hatred or revenge. . . He had been harassed for a long time before his arrest, making impossible a normal family life. By the time of his release on Feb. 11, 1990, he had spent all of twenty-seven years in jail. No one could say that he knew nothing about suffering. . . Everything had been done to break his spirit and to make him hate-filled. In all this the system mercifully failed dismally. He emerged a whole person. -- Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness
If you travel to South Africa and visit Robben Island, you will see the prison that held people like Nelson Mandela, people who stood in public opposition to the apartheid system of racial segregation. You can receive a tour of the remote, sea-surrounded prison from an ex-prisoner who will tell you first hand of the horrors inflicted upon him during an extensive stay on the island. You will have to reckon with the unfathomable ways that human beings exert power and force over the lives of other humans, all in an attempt to maintain a position of dominance.
The miraculous thing about Nelson Mandela's story is that while he was in prison, while a powerful and dominating force attempted to diminish and extinguish his spirit, something was being cultivated in him. His spirit would not break. He maintained a level of wholeness that would not be snuffed out.
God has done great things, indeed! God frees captives from their bondage But what is more, God is present in the suffering, cultivating something whole, with a poewr even greater than the powers of domination and fear. For this we can be glad indeed!
God of the cross, you meet us in the place of the crucified, and it is there that you begin to cultivate your resurrection. Continue to meet this world in its suffering places and make it whoel and glad indeed. Amen.