72 DAYS LOCKED UP – WHAT A SEASON! – WHAT SEASON ARE YOU IN? – UPDATE FROM TORBEN SONDERGAARD
Greetings in the name of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m sitting here in my cell, 8 x 13 feet (2 x 3 meters). There are two beds on the wall, a metal toilet with a sink on top, and a shower. I’m sitting here writing this update, before I soon will call my wife Lene who will record it over the phone and then get it out to all of you out there. Today, I have been locked up for seventy-two days. Whoa! It is truly crazy to think of! When I got detained seventy-two days ago, I could never imagine that I would be sitting here seventy-two days later. It has been a real roller-coaster also not knowing why exactly I am here, or when I will come back out, to my family and the life out there I so love. But, we have come so far that hopefully next week we can come out with more information about this crazy case, which I really look forward to, so stay tuned!
One thing that has kept me “alive” is understanding that this season I am now in is just a season – a season that is very important, but also a season that hopefully soon will be over. This has been an important season I needed. When we have our Luke 10 training school, on the first day I always talk about “FRUIT times and ROOT times.” As I often say, for a tree to bear more FRUIT, it needs deeper ROOTS, and the same with us. FRUIT times are the good times where life is easy, and we just see God doing amazing things, and we just see beautiful fruit. I have truly had that, these last years here in America. Yes, even the last few months, before all of this happened, were truly amazing! We saw so much fruit in the spreading of the Gospel and seeing so many lives changed! God opened so many new doors, and did so many new things, and I loved it! Even the day before I got detained, we baptized over ten people and God did amazing things.
But then, I got handcuffs on, and everything changed. Yes, I’ve shared Jesus in here, and seen a few people healed, and baptized one to Christ, but nothing like the months before. But I need to understand that this now is a different season in my life. It’s a season without the amazing fruit I’ve seen in people’s lives, when they come to Christ, but even though there has not been that fruit the same way, doesn’t mean that this season has been fruitless! Not at all! No, this season has been a ROOT season – a season where I have needed to die to myself again and again – a season where I have sought God and His Word like never before – and in that way, it has truly been BEAUTIFUL and FRUITFUL in an amazing way!
I truly believe that when this season is over, I will see so much more fruit out there than I did before! Why? Because this has been our testimony the last twenty-five years! We have often had problems, and experienced persecution and slander from other people. As Jesus promised us, that is just part of our life. But, when we serve Christ, we will also have big seasons in our life where the ROOTS go deep.
I can testify that we have had five big ROOT seasons which have really, truly changed us – seasons where we have been crying, “God, where are You? Please help us now! We really need You now or we will die!” or, “I cannot do this anymore, God! I need You now!” Yes – seasons which feel like forever, and where doubt and fear come in. “God, can You fix it?”… “God, what will happen if?”… But, EVERY time we have gone through those seasons, God has been FAITHFUL! And we have always, afterwards experienced even more fruit than we did before. Why? Because we have died to ourselves even more, so He could live through us. And because through those seasons, we have sought Him, and His Word, like never before. Yes, much more than we did in the good times where we saw a lot of fruit and where everything was easy.
What season are YOU in, my friend? If you don’t understand that there are different seasons you will go through, you will not finish your race. FRUIT seasons are the times where we are doing good and seeing fruit – and we love it, and we always want things to be like that. But as I said before, for a tree to bear more fruit, it needs deeper ROOTS. Without the ROOTS, the tree will fall when the storm comes. And without deep ROOTS in our life, we will get proud, or allow compromise or sin to come in. And we also all know that it is NOT in the good times that we seek God most. No! But when things suddenly go bad, we cry out, “God, I need You now!” But you ALWAYS need God, my friend. But sadly, we don’t spend the time with Him the same way when things are going good, as when times are hard.
It is so important for us all to understand that life is like a long Bible school, and we ALWAYS need to learn and to grow – to learn new things, and grow UP or grow DOWN – seeing FRUIT or seeing ROOTS – instead of, “I now become frustrated.” And I want to say that this is easier said than done. I have really needed to understand what time we are now in, and use this time as effectively as possible – a time that “hopefully” will soon be over, because it has been hard to be locked up. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever tried before. But I have taken this season, and really tried to get the best out of it. I’ve used the time to really pray, like I have not done for years – yes, not since the last ROOT season I had. Yea, I’m also guilty in that like everyone else, that when things are going good, we don’t pray as much as when things are hard. But I’ve also really gotten the time to get the Word into my life like never before – reading and studying God’s Word for hours every day. I’ve also fasted and trained, and lost a lot of weight, something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I haven’t been able to do it out there, but now it was my time.
So it has really been a blessing, even though it has been hard and I long for it to end. I want to say to you out there, don’t be afraid of hard times. Yes, welcome to this life, because we will ALL go through hard times. But we can experience that those hard times can become a big blessing in our life, and we can learn to rest in it and use the strength in the pain to seek God like never before and let His Word transform our life. God is faithful, and we see He is with us and guiding us through it all, again and again. You need to understand what season you are in. I cannot be locked up here, for example, and get frustrated every day from not seeing the fruit I was seeing the last months. No! Instead, as I said, I needed to understand that this is now another season, and then get the best out of it, and be prepared for when this season is over so I’m ready to give something in the next season God has for me.
Understand what season YOU are in, and let God work in your life! He is FAITHFUL! He has a plan with the things we go through, and we do not always see it right away, but afterwards, when we reap the fruit of it, it is so BEAUTIFUL, and we are so THANKFUL for Him allowing us to go through it! This is something we need to remind ourselves and each other of, again and again.
Thank you all out there, for your prayers and your love to me and my family. My family is also going through this ROOT season, not having me there, but God is also working in their lives, even though it is hard. Pray that the truth about all of this will come out soon, and that I soon will come out, and we will get our papers and step into the next season in our life. I know that God is working, and as I said in the beginning, I hopefully next week can share more details about what is happening here. So STAY STRONG until then! UNDERSTAND your season – that we do not always see amazing FRUIT in our life, but we also need to have deep ROOTS in our life, so we can keep standing and never fall!
God bless you all out there!
Blessings and love,