"And Jonah fled from the Lord..."
Dear Christian Friend,
"And Jonah fled from the Lord."
Sometimes an accident or illness may be an opportunity for God to show His miracle working power, as when Lazarus died. Sometimes faithful preachers suffer for Christ's sake as did St. Paul. Often suffering may be the love of the Lord to get us back on the straight and narrow way after we have erred.
At an open air meeting the other day, a man showed up whom we had not seen for many months. He was showing a great scar across one side of his head and down to the ear and face. He came forward to pray and renew his vows before the Lord. Then he told this story.
He had been a Christian and had stopped going with his old cronies to the cantinas and started coming to help out with the open air meetings as well as attending services at his little village church. He said more and more the Lord seemed to be calling him to be stronger in his Christian walk and do more active preaching, but the more the Lord called, the further he dragged back until finally he was back with his old drinking, fighting, swearing bar-room friends instead of with the brethren.
One night with everyone half drunk, they got into a brawl and someone pulled out a machete and laid his head open. The machete is a large, heavy knife used for cutting cane or brush. It is the constant companion of the field workers, and it is used for everything, including a weapon for defense or attack. When he arrived at the county hospital, he was unconscious and more dead than alive. The doctor looked him over for a few minutes and said aloud, "He can't pull out of that." The near dead man heard even from his near gone condition. He began to do business with the Lord. "Lord, I know I have run away from you and your call. I have fallen low, but you had mercy on Jonah when he was disobedient. He called, even from the belly of the whale and you saved him and gave him another chance. Lord, if you pull me through this, I'll be faithful. I'll help the brethren in the meetings, and I'll preach myself," he said.
So, he is back again, taking his turn preaching in the open air, giving his testimony explaining how he got that awful half- healed scar. Sinners are impressed as well as Christians.
Talking of Jonah, an American came down to Guatemala saying he wanted to preach, although he could not speak Spanish. He said that someone had sent him to us. I asked how he could hope to do that? He said we should write in Spanish a short sermon that was five minutes long which he would memorize, then walk through the city preaching that sermon on every corner. When he finished with all the principle street corners, he would go to another city. "Why," he said, "one of the shortest sermons ever preached had but seven words, but produced one of the greatest revivals in history.----In forty days Ninevah will be destroyed!- ---Jonah preached in that fashion and God used it to save the greatest city in the world at that time."
We wrote him a five minute sermon which we saw him preaching on various street corners for a few days. Then we saw him no more, but have no doubt the Lord used his message to help in the salvation of some souls.
God has used many strange means and many very odd and strange people to carry on his work, a great work, though we are clay oil lamps and candle holders.
Praise His name! He is still working. Not only pray for us but also be ready for His call for you to step out in any new step of consecration and faith. If there is one sure characteristic of the Holy Spirit it is that He will be leading to give out the old, old story in some very new and novel way, often so odd it will require consecration and humility to carry it out. We need a breaking of the old stiff clay shell of timidity and reserve so that the light of the Gospel can break forth, and so that one may put a thousand to flight.
Sincere thanks for your continued prayers.