LENT DAY 40
Faithful By Pastor Mike Mannes
“God has said,
‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.’”
There is a story I heard many years ago from Ravi Zacharias about God’s faithfulness in the most trying of circumstances. My prayer is that this story would stick in your mind, like it has in mine, and surface every time you need a reminder of God’s faithfulness:
I was ministering in Vietnam in 1971, and one of my interpreters was Hien Pham, an energetic young Christian. He had worked as a translator with the American forces, and was of immense help both to them and to missionaries such as myself. Hien and I traveled the length of the country and became very close friends before I returned home. We did not know if our paths would ever cross again. Seventeen years later, I received a telephone call. "Brother Ravi?" the man asked. Immediately, I recognized Hien's voice, and he soon told me his story.
Shortly after Vietnam fell, Hien was imprisoned on accusations of helping the Americans. His jailers tried to indoctrinate him against democratic ideals and the Christian faith. He was forced to read only communist propaganda in French or Vietnamese, and the daily deluge of Marx and Engels began to take its toll. "Maybe," he thought, "I have been lied to. Maybe God does not exist. Maybe the West has deceived me." So Hien determined that when he awakened the next day, he would not pray anymore or think of his faith.
The next morning, he was assigned the dreaded chore of cleaning the prison latrines. As he cleaned out a tin can over-flowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what seemed to be English printed on one piece of paper. He hurriedly grabbed it, washed it, and after his roommates had retired that night, he retrieved the paper and read the words, "Romans, Chapter 8." Trembling, he began to read, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:28,38,39).
Hien wept. He knew his Bible, and he knew that there was not a more relevant passage for one on the verge of surrender. He cried out to God, asking forgiveness. This was to have been the first day that he would not pray; evidently God had other plans.
I’m not sure what you’re going through today, but know this: God has not forgotten you. That’s good news. In the here and now, it might seem small, but in the scope of eternity you have a Heavenly Father who is with you, who sees you, who loves you. This Easter, as we celebrate the greatest and most significant act in human history, remember that He made that sacrifice on the cross for you. He did it for all of humanity, and He did it just for you.