Brave Man



     And the God uses brave men, too, as stand-ins for the angels.

     George Buttrick tells the story of a hero of the Chinese rice fields.  It happened during an earthquake.  From his hilltop farm he saw the ocean swiftly pull back, like some ferocious animal crouching for the leap.  And he knew the leap would be the tidal wave.  He saw too that his neighbors working in the fields below must somehow be brought to his hill—and fast—or be swept away!

     His own rice had already been harvested.  There it was, still in the husks, the cut plants piled in huge stacks—practically his total food supply.  But without a moment’s hesitation he set fire to the stacks and furiously rang the temple bell.  His neighbors thought his farm was on fire and rushed to help him.  Then, from the safe hill, they looked down and saw the water swirling over the fields they had just left—and knew how much their rescue had cost!

     Yes, God alone, from His high eternity, could see the tidal wave of sin crouched, ready to rush in and sweep us away.

      He knew that only a sacrifice could save us.  And so He set heaven afire with His own love, made a daring descent to earth, and climbed upon a cross to die!

     And only when we flee to the high safety of that cross, drawn by that incredible fire that lights up all the ages—only then can we look back and see the depth and the fury of the ruin from which he saved us.  And understand the cost!

     Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

     And for those who linger in the fields, unaware of danger, there is still the insistent ringing of the bell!

M. L. Lloyd