The Bread of Tears

by Joni Eareckson Tada

A devotional thought for January 3 from Pearls of Great Price, Zondervan, 2006

"You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."
— 1 John 4:4 NASB

     Years ago my missionary friend Gesina was thrown into a communist prison in the Balkans because they caught her with Christian literature in the trunk of her car. Sitting in that pitch-black cell, surrounded by a sickening stench with filth and trash on the floor that she couldn't even see, she suddenly thought of a verse of Scripture. That very morning, she had read Psalm 80:5 in her quiet time: "You have fed them with the bread of tears."
     The verse came back strongly to her heart in that dark moment, but it wasn't particularly comforting in her present circumstances! Frightened and overwhelmed, she had no idea if her friends would realize what had happened to her. Just then, the jailer opened the small food door and shoved through a stick of salami and a chunk of bread. Frustrated that she couldn't even set the meat down on the dirty floor in order to tear off a piece of bread, she began to cry. Without thinking, she wiped her tears with the chunk of bread. And suddenly the verse she had read that morning flashed before her. She laughed out loud. God knew! He hadn't forgotten her! She could eat her tear-soaked bread knowing that he had specifically given it to her. She didn't mind being fed the bread of tears if it had come straight from his hand.
     Today, Gesina has a marvelous ministry among the disabled in Albania. And to the end of her days, she will remember how — in the worst and darkest of circumstances — God came near and reminded her of his constant presence and care.

     Whatever your circumstances, difficult as they may be, remember: God knows precisely where you are and how to care for you.

     Oh Lord Jesus, what joy this brings! Because you live within my very spirit, nothing but nothing in life can truly defeat me.

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