God’s Mercy

     For this story we need to go back to the year 1948. I was just a little lad at that time, but the story is not about me, it is about a schoolmaster in a country about ten thousand miles away from where I lived. Today we call the country Indonesia. This man was a schoolmaster and he was a Christian. He belonged to the Reform Church. They called it the Javanese Reform Church, and he was a good Christian, as he understood it. He was very faithful in his church attendance, and he was very involved in all the activities of the church.

     One day someone knocked on his door and wanted to sell him a book. He bought the book Bible Readings for the Home Circle, mostly I think, just to get the salesman off his doorstep. He did not read it, he just stuck it away on the shelf and forgot about it. That could have been the end of his story, but our God is a faithful and good God. He does not want anyone to perish. He did not give up, just because that man did not listen.

     Let’s take the story five years later to the year 1953. This schoolmaster had a little girl in his class. That little girl was the daughter of an Adventist pastor. She had been brought up, as all Adventist children should be brought up, to be a missionary for God. She loved her teacher, and she wanted to do something for him. So she came to him one day and asked, "Would you like to come to my church on Sabbath?" Her teacher said, "No, I have my own church. I do not need to go to your church." That was the second time he turned his back on the opportunity for truth. But the Lord had not given up on him yet.

     We need to fast-forward the story to the year 1992. By this time, the man was getting to be quite an old man. He had a daughter who was married and living in Cambridge, England. One day her husband got a little invitation card put through his door. I do not know who put it through the door, but someone gave him the card offering Bible lessons through the mail. This man filled in the card with his name and address and he sent it back. After receiving three lessons he wrote and said he didn’t want them anymore. But the Lord knows what He is doing. Do you believe that? During the three weeks, when that man received Bible lessons, his father-in-law, from ten thousand miles away in Indonesia, was on a visit to England to see his daughter and son-in-law.

     He saw the Bible lessons lying around the house, and so he wrote to the people who sent out the Bible lessons and said, "Would you mind sending the Bible lessons to me?" Those people were very willing to do that. The time came when his vacation in England was over, and it was time to go back to Indonesia. So he wrote to the people sending out the Bible lessons and he said, "Would it be possible for you to send those lessons out to Indonesia to me?" The people said, "Yes, we would be delighted to do that." So he went on his way back to Indonesia.

     When he got back to his little town in Indonesia, there was a pile of lessons waiting for him. He was thrilled and started studying these lessons. He wrote a letter back to England and said, "Look, I am conducting a Bible study class in my church on Wednesday nights. Would you mind if I took these Bible lessons along to my church and shared them with the folk there?" Well, you don’t need to know what the answer to that question was, do you?

     The weeks went by, and the months went by, and the man received Bible lessons for maybe five months. Then he received lesson number eighteen. That lesson came to him like a bombshell. He was so convicted by the Holy Spirit about the Bible Sabbath. It was tremendous! He had been, what he believed, a faithful follower of God for so many decades of his life, but now, suddenly, he was reading in God’s Word that he had been breaking God’s law all that time. This was a terrible shock to him! He wrote a letter back to the people in England, but I guess he forgot which language he was writing in, and he sent the letter written in Dutch! The people in England received this letter, but they could not understand a word of it. They wrote back, and encouraged him, and eventually they found someone who could read Dutch to read the letter to them.

    That was a man who was deeply under conviction. He knew that what he had studied about the Sabbath was the truth. He was certain of that. He was also certain that he had been breaking God’s law for all those years and there had to be a change. He knew he could not go on as before.

     The last time I heard from that man, because my wife and I were the people sending the Bible lessons to him, he told us that he and his wife had found a Seventh-day Adventist Church and they were worshipping there.

     You know, I have a little picture in my mind that I hope one day comes true. One day we are going to be in heaven walking on that street of gold through the New Jerusalem. Mr. S. and his wife will be there. They are going to meet a man whom they have not seen for many, many years who sold them a book. They are going to meet a woman, who as a little girl, invited them to church. And I will meet them, too. I have never met them. I do not know what they look like. All I know is that I have written letters and Mr. S. has written letters to me. But I want to meet him, too. That man knew that the Lord gave him three tries, over nearly half a century, because the Lord does not give up. But the Lord could help that man only because faithful people played their part.

     That man who sold the book, maybe thought he had wasted his time. But he had sown the seed. What he did that day was not forgotten. And the little girl who went to her favorite teacher in school, and said, "Will you come to church with me on Sabbath?" played her part in that story, too. Her part will not be forgotten, either. The Bible says that if we sow faithfully, we shall reap, if we fail not. I think we are in the sowing time. I believe that when the Latter Rain is poured out, we are going to reap great harvests. But you only reap great harvests if you sow plenty of seeds, and you need to be sowing those seeds now.

     Do not get discouraged if you do not see any immediate results. Just sow the seeds, tend them and leave the growing to the Lord. In due course there will be a good harvest.

Gordon Anderson