“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
For more than twenty days, Yasmin* had seen only two people—a prison guard and the man who interrogated her. Stuck inside a cell with nothing but a mat on the floor, Yasmin waited and prayed and then waited some more.
She wondered if her family knew where she was and if she was alive. She had received no word from the outside after the Iranian authorities raided her house church meeting.
Yasmin had spent day after day, hour upon hour enduring harsh interrogations meant to break her. She longed for her Bible. In desperation, she cried out for a word from God, something to comfort her and bring peace to such a tumultuous situation. She could feel her strength draining from her as she deflected yet another attempt by authorities to uncover the other members of her church.
Slowly she remembered a verse from the Bible. She said it over and over to herself quietly in her cell, feeling the stress of the last twenty days begin to roll off of her. One verse became two, until soon, Yasmin could recall much of the Bible that she had read and memorized before. Songs flooded into her mind and she lifted her voice in praise to God who had answered her in her time of great trouble.
Not wanting to forget God’s Word, Yasmin took a great risk during her next interrogation. Seeing an ink pen on the old rusty table, she quickly slipped it into her sleeve and held it tightly as the guard roughly escorted her back to her cell for the night.
Though she had missed the evening meal and could feel the weight of stress from her last interview, hope began to rise in Yasmin as the latch closed on her cell door. She took out the pen and began writing as quickly as she could—anything she could remember. Soon one wall was half-covered with Bible verses, quotes, and songs.
Yasmin sat back and read the words over and over. Falling asleep to the rhythm of her voice, Yasmin knew that God had given her strength to endure whatever persecution she faced. She had the words of God on her heart and mind.
After being released from prison, Yasmin reflected on her time there, noting how God grew her faith. “It wasn’t easy, but at the same time it was the best experience in my life because I could see how God is faithful to me. He was there with me, and he was encouraging me to stand there with his Word.”
*Name changed for security purposes. Based on a true story of an Iranian Christian’s experience, though some details have been added.