Joy Before a Firing Squad

Bill Bright

“The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

It was my great privilege to know Bishop Festus Kivengere, of Uganda. He tells the story of the 1973 execution of three men from his diocese during the bloody, tyrannical rule of dictator Idi Amin.

"February 10 began as a sad day for us... I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died.... I was wondering what to say.

"We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance. Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: 'Bishop, thank you for coming! I want to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart.... Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. '

"The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands, which rattled their handcuffs.

"I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces.

"The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus.

Your View of God Really Matters ...

Do you know the joy that God gives – especially in difficult times? Or do you only know the happiness that is dependent upon circumstances? Today, follow Jesus closely and experience the joy that only He can give.


Because God is personal Spirit,
I will seek intimate fellowship with Him.


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Bright Media Foundation is an affiliate of Cru.

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