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Finding Hope in God’s Word

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”1

Ravi Zacharias tells the amazing story of a young Christian in Vietnam. He writes, “I was ministering in Vietnam in 1971, and one of my interpreters was Hien Pham, an energetic young Christian. He had worked as a translator with the American forces, and was of immense help both to them and to missionaries such as myself. Hien and I traveled the length of the country and became very close friends before I returned home. We did not know if our paths would ever cross again. Seventeen years later, I received a telephone call. ‘Brother Ravi?’ the man asked. Immediately I recognized Hien’s voice, and he soon told me his story. Shortly after Vietnam fell, Hien was imprisoned on accusations of helping the Americans. His jailers tried to indoctrinate him against democratic ideals and the Christian faith. He was restricted to communist propaganda in French or Vietnamese, and the daily deluge of Marx and Engels began to take its toll. ‘Maybe,’ he thought, ‘I have been lied to. Maybe God does not exist. Maybe the West has deceived me.’ So, Hien determined that when he awakened the next day, he would not pray anymore or think of his faith.

The next morning, he was assigned the dreaded chore of cleaning the prison latrines. As he cleaned out a tin can overflowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what seemed to be English printed on one piece of paper. He hurriedly grabbed it, washed it, and after his roommates had retired that night, he retrieved the paper and read the words, ‘Romans, Chapter 8.’ Trembling, he began to read, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. . . for I am convinced that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Hien wept. He knew His Bible, and knew that there was not a more relevant passage for one on the verge of surrender. He cried out to God, asking forgiveness, for this was to have been the first day that he would not pray. After finding the Scripture, Hien asked the commander if he could clean the latrines regularly, because he discovered that some official was using a Bible as toilet paper. Each day Hien picked up a portion of Scripture, cleaned it off, and added it to his collection of nightly reading. What his tormentors were using for refuse — the Scriptures — could not be more treasured to Hien.” Eventually he was released from prison and fled to Thailand. Today he is a businessman in the United States, a radiant Christian and a living testimony to the power of God’s Word and its transforming power.2

It always amazes me to see how God meets us right where we are. There will be many times in life when we feel discouraged, and in our moments of confusion, may start to question God. We may even allow ourselves to question his existence. Allow this to be our encouragement, friend… even in those moments, God is still there. If we open our hearts in honesty to Him, He listens and responds. One thing I have learned from my personal relationship with Jesus, is the importance of hiding his word in my heart. We never know when we will face temptation, challenges, or defining moments in our life when our faith may be tested. It is in these moments we can cling to the truth of God’s word and the hope found within.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, thank you for your Word. When I feel alone, discouraged, or confused, please allow me to rest in your promises and faithfulness. May my heart be filled with peace and renewed hope daily, as I spend time in your Word. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  1. Psalm 119:105 (NLT).


Today's Encounter was written by: Crystal B.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.