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January 9, 2021: Joy Is a Promise

“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. ... And in that day you will ask Me nothing” (John 16:20, 23, NKJV).

I witnessed my parents’ tears under the oppression of the communist regime in Romania, as the secret police escorted them for interrogations. They persecuted me—a student at the time—for not attending school on the Sabbath. I cried and prayed for deliverance like the Israelites did in Egypt.

My fellow church members and I were faithful to God during these times. Putting spiritual matters first, after being interrogated, we would go directly to church. At night, we held baptisms and remodeled the interior of the church. At home, we hid our Bibles so the police wouldn’t find them. And God showed me that His promises are true.

My parents wanted a better future for my two brothers and me, so based on the family’s decision, my father escaped through the former Yugoslavia to a refugee camp in Austria, and, about a year later, came to the United States.

Our sorrow turned into joy when my family reunited with him, free from the communist oppression. As a result of God’s unconditional love, our anguish vanished.

In the States, God led me into ministry, and now I joyfully tell others about my faithful Lord who keeps His promises.

God, I praise You for Your providence. My heart goes out to all who are under similar oppression around the world. May they feel God’s presence, and may their sorrow turn into joy one day soon. Amen.

Marius E. Marton is the pastor of the Elyria district in Ohio.

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To help you dig deeper into God’s Holy Word this year, we’re offering:

  • Every Month—This calendar, themed “Words of Life,” coincides with the devotional book and videos. It features a biblical topic and verse each month, with additional passages for further exploration, study and ideas on how to apply the concepts in your daily life.

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