If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? “A slave is not greater than the master.” Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you (John 15:18-20).
When the news about Kayla Mueller’s death was released last week, I was reminded of this promise Jesus made to His disciples over 2000 years ago.
If you don’t know her story, it is definitely one worth taking the time to learn. Space and time won’t allow me to fully cover the details of this amazing Christ follower, but suffice it to say that Kayla is a shining example of keeping one’s faith in the midst of the deepest suffering.
Kayla’s heart broke for the suffering of the Syrian people, but rather than simply weep and pray over their plight, she followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and traveled there to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Two years ago, she was taken hostage by ISIS, and hundreds of people began praying for her release. Although ISIS is known for its brutality, the hope was that taking the life of an innocent humanitarian female would be a line they would not cross.
But as Jesus prophesied, the vitriolic hatred of ISIS was poured out on Kayla Mueller, and now she in the presence of her beloved Savior.
And by the grace of God, she was able to get a letter out last spring to her family that serves as a reminder of how our faith can be an anchor in even the most turbulent of storms. Here are a few of her inspiring words:
I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else…by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall…I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it…Please be patient, give your pain to God.
Kayla’s words and example of faith serve as a reminder of how the light of Jesus Christ shines most powerfully in the darkest of situations. She truly lived out the promise that He gives to all those experiencing difficulty at any level: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Most likely none of you reading this will end up walking through the fire that Kayla Mueller traversed, but we all have the tribulations and misfortunes that come our way and seem to knock the life out of us. It is in those times that we, like Kayla, can draw infinite and omnipotent strength from the God who took on flesh and endured the greatest suffering anyone could imagine.
And when we do find the peace that passes our understanding, we can be used by God to reach out to others who are carrying burdens of their own. When we focus on helping others, it takes our attention off our situation and onto the ways that God infuses us with supernatural power to help others “take heart”!
Kayla Mueller is truly a compelling testimony of someone who willingly made incredible sacrifices to help others and found God was sufficient in the midst of the deepest troubles. What a great reminder and encouragement to us to be used by God for THE Cause of Christ as we walk through this difficult life.
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Pray for the Mueller family and all their friends as they grieve the loss of this great young woman of God. Pray also that God would use you to reach into the lives of your friends who are experiencing difficulties and trials with the love of Christ.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, thank You for Kayla Mueller and the life she lived for Your glory. Help her family and friends to find comfort in this storm, and help us to rely on You as we walk through difficulties of our own and reach out to others in their own pain.
Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to share this with your students? Copy and paste the following text message: “Where is darkness consuming you in life? Read this week’s devo to be encouraged towards shining light in those areas: http://hubs.ly/y0x_gF0”
Big Idea: Kayla Mueller is an amazing example of someone who relied on God’s strength in the midst of trial.
Key Scripture: John 16:33
- What problem in the world particularly breaks your heart?
- When have you experienced God’s comfort in the midst of trials?
- Who can you help through a hard time right now?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?