Knife Sharpened By The
“You can pray all you want to,” the large woodsman laughed. “I’m going to put my trust in my good weapons and dogs.”
During the unsettled day of the Napoleonic wars, a forester named Grimez was an overseer of a wild tract of woodland in the Silesian Mountains. His wife and elderly grandmother were both believers in God and His answering prayers. The two women had become very concerned about Grimez safety. He had been instrumental in bringing justice a band of robbers who had infested the region. Only the leader of the gang was able to escape. His known threats of revenge upon Grimez brought great fear to the wife and grandmother. One particular night, when Grimez was unusually late coming home, the wife began to really worry.
The two women decided that it was best for them to have a season of prayer for Grimez despite the fact that he not only did not believe in God but, openly rebelled at and ridiculed their praying. Before going to bed in the sleeping loft, they read the seventy-first Psalm with particular emphasis on the words, “In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust…. Be Thou my strong habitation …. Deliver me, O God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
Then the two women knelt and prayed to God for His protection over them and the absent husband. Before the wife ended her prayer, she asked the Lord to have mercy on the robber leader and turn him from his evil ways. Please allow him to find peace through Thee.”
Shortly after their worship, Grimez came in. As they both told him of their anxiety over his being out in the forest so late with the robber band leader swearing to kill him, he said nothing.
“We just finished praying for your safety.”
He smiled, walked to each window to secure them for the night, and let both of them know, once again, that prayer was “foolish.”
“As soon as I put away my rifles, I’ll come to bed,” he told his wife as she made her way up the stairs. It was not long until Grimez had locked all the doors and windows, placed his firearms in their normal place of accessibility and was fast asleep in bed with his wife.
The next morning when the family came downstairs, it was unusually cold. The reason was soon evident. A window was wide open and the cool morning breeze was blowing right into the house. There was nothing wrong with the lock or hinges to indicate that someone had forced it open. Something had simply opened it. But how?
And to the amazement to all three of them, on the table where they had always placed the large and heavy family Bible, in the place of the Bible was a large and very sharp knife.
The three realized three things. First, the open window meant that someone had been in the house. Second, the dagger-like knife indicated that murder had been the intent. And, third, the missing Bible had to prove that somehow it had been the means of their not having been killed while they slept.
The entire house was searched and re-searched. Nothing was missing other than the Bible. It was a mystery none of them could explain. The godly wife knelt before them all and thanked God for His protection. The grandmother, though not kneeling, said “Amen” at the conclusion of the heartfelt prayer.
Grimez said nothing. His face spelled concern and bewilderment.
Several nights passed and the incident was seldom mentioned. One night Grimez announced that the French and the Prussians were fighting each other, and that he was going to have to go to war, too.
In the heat of one battle near a large lake, Grimez was badly wounded and left for dead by his fellow soldiers. Late that afternoon, as the sun’s rays almost faded from view, several nearby fishermen came cautiously to the shore. They had small fishing huts there and wanted to see if any of them were left. As one of them walked slowly amidst the dead bodies, he stopped in his tracks as he heard a soft, pathetic moan. Finding an officer lying in blood he called to his companions, and they carried the wounded man to one of the boats. They rowed to the opposite side of the lake where a number of fishermen had cottages. The wounded officer was taken into one of the cottages where the fisherman and his wife worked hard and long to save his life.
When he regained consciousness and was able to carry on a conversation, the fisherman wrote a letter and had a young man take it to the small cottage in the depth of Silesian Mountains. Grimez’s wife returned to the fishing camp with the messenger.
The fisherman and his wife gave them the use of his cottage and stayed with a neighbor until the forester had recovered.
As Grimez lay on his sickbed, he thought of the wonderful way in which he had be rescued from death on the battlefield. His mind went back to the amazing way in which he and his wife and aged grandmother had been protected the night the robber came into their home. With his wife’s help, he came to understand that there really was a God in heaven who did answer prayers. It was not long before Grimez began to pray. By the time of his physical recovery, Grimez had spiritual restoration. He had become a Christian.
Finally, the time came for Grimez and his wife to go home. He met with the kind fisherman to tell him of his deep appreciation.
“I want to pay you for all you have done for me. I wish it were possible for me to give you as much as you have given me.”
The fisherman refused to take one cent. He told Grimez he could not take his money and that he was glad he could help.
Grimez insisted that he take the money. But, again, the fisherman refused.
“Actually,” the fisherman said, as he looked the happy and peaceful forester in the eyes, “I wish there was some way I could give you as much as you have given me.”
“What do you mean?” the puzzled woodman asked. “What have I given you except a lot of trouble?”
“Well, I have a great treasure of yours. I have wanted to return it to you somehow, but I was afraid I might be detected and lose all I have gained here with these precious fishermen who took me into their homes and lives.”
Grimez and his wife stood speechless as the fisherman continued.
“I came to this fishing village after spending several weeks reading in the woods. I know that you don’t recognize me nor know what I’m talking about. I am the one who was the leader of the robbers who gave you and others in your area so much trouble. When you caught my companions and had them put in jail, I swore I’d kill you. One night I crept into your home. It was just after dark. I hid under the high back couch in your sitting room, waiting for you to go to sleep.
“Against my will, I was forced to listen to the two women talk about you being out so late. I also had to listen to them read from the Bible those words from the seventy-first Psalm. It had a wonderful effect on me. Then, when they prayed for you, I was touched. But when they prayed for me, too. I was more effected. It was as if an unseen hand was laid on me, keeping me from doing what I had intended to do.
“All I wanted to do was get my hands on that Book. So, I took it. Since I knew it cost a lost of money, I left my very expensive knife in its place.
‘For weeks I kept it hidden in the woods near your home. I read it every minute I could. As I did I saw what a great sinner I was, and what a great Saviour Jesus is. That same Saviour who pardoned the thief on the cross had mercy on me and received me into His kingdom.
“Then I left that part of the country and found employment here among these wonderful people. I met my wife here and began a new life as well. We have all we want in this world, and are blest with a hope for the next. And all this I owe to you.”
And with that, he went into his house and came out with the large family Bible he had taken from Grimez home.
“Grimez, you trusted your dogs and your guns; they could not help you any that night or out on the battlefield. Nothing but God’s Word saved you that night. And nothing but God saved you during the war. Don’t thank me, but thank the merciful God who made use of His blessed Word to save both you and me. It was no coincidence that the One who allowed me to learn of Him, who protected you from my knife that night, and who kept you from dying on the battlefield, also allowed me to find you so all of us could have the hope of eternal life.”
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: