"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10 NIV
A few years ago, I read a book called The Sun Shines: How I Found Life and Freedom On Death Row, by Anthony Ray Hinton. It is his true story of being falsely accused of a murder he did not commit. Framed by false statements, sloppy police work, poor initial representation, and outright racial injustice, he spent 30 years on Death Row in an Alabama prison. Repeated appeals were rejected until Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative took his case, finally winning his freedom in 2015.
In the book, Hinton talks of his faith in God and how it helped him in his years in prison. He prayed not only for himself but for other inmates, authorities, judges, and the victim and her family. Now, finally restored to freedom, he tours the country, speaking about justice issues and sharing his message of forgiveness. This is from an interview with ABC News, "Bitterness kills the soul. I cannot hate because my Bible teaches me not to hate. I've seen hate at its worse. What would it profit me to hate?"
Why do things like this happen? The answer is man's evil, the inheritance of original sin. But more incredible than the message of man's sin is God's grace. His power to restore us on the other side of injustice and misery. There is a great light that shines in front of our darkest days; at times, it may appear to be a dim flicker, but hold fast God is with you. Restoration is waiting ahead.
Precious and loving God, we give you thanks for your restoring grace. We sometimes go through times of suffering, and sometimes it might last a long while. We know you do not bring the suffering; man's wickedness to each other grieves you. In you, we have the promise that even in our darkest days, you are with us, providing compassion, comfort, and peace. You will restore us. If not in this life, then in your heavenly kingdom, where pain, sickness, and injustice cease to exist. Please help us to stand against injustice and evil in all forms, working to bring about your kingdom here on earth. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.