5 minutes reading time (959 words)

He Turns it Into a Rescue

There was a brief period, during our ministry days among the Hakka, in Taiwan, that I now look back upon as a kind of 'dark ages'. Not that the work wasn't always a challenge. But at one point, a sad conflict erupted within our team and—oh!—the more I tried to solve it, the worse it got. Our prowling Enemy hated what we had started in that town, and he was working overtime to rip our little church apart. 

We tried our very best to conceal it from the boys, but I'm sure they could sense it. For Sharilyn and I, it was a dark time, as one thing after another just conspired to plunge us into despair. 

There was one evening, very late, after Sharilyn and I had gone to bed, when we were both awakened by the sound of laughter right outside our bedroom window.  Now, you need to know that, right outside that bedroom window was an old Chinese grave, complete with headstone, barely legible. That grave was one of the reasons why we got the place for such cheap rent! And I can assure you, there was not a soul in that Hakka community that would stand near that grave in the middle of the night!  To this day, we wonder just what that laughter was.  Just one more thing contributing to a deep sense of abandonment and despair that was rising up within us. 

It was during that time that our son Dave came home from school late one night. He was driving our little van. He'd had a long day and a twenty mile drive back home from Taichong and he was tired. About a half mile from our home, as he was climbing the hill at the edge of town, just as he approached a sharp curve in the road, Dave fell asleep! 

The van veered to the right and hit a concrete telephone pole. Dave didn't get hurt, praise to the Lord. He was heading uphill on that stretch of road and so he wasn't going very fast. He got out and hiked that last half-mile back home and woke us both up with the bad news. 

We were relieved, of course, that Dave was okay. But it was just one more disturbing event for us; causing us to feel that even our kids were now in the crosshairs! 

That night, Dave and I both walked back to assess the situation. There was the van, smashed head-on into the pole all right; but it was safely out of the line of traffic; it was the middle of the night; the whole community was asleep, so the two of us agreed to just leave the van there and deal with it in the morning. There was no sense in waking everyone up with the noise of trying to get the thing started.  

But, that night, as I reached into the van to grab the keys from the ignition, I saw it! There in the driver's side window, was a sticker, kind of like a bumper sticker, plastered to the concrete pole, with six big Chinese characters that read: Nan-mwo-ah-mi-tuo-fu! (I won't print those characters in this Newsletter): 'Give homage to the Buddha' is one way to translate it. It was eye-level on the driver's side, the very first thing Dave saw after the crash, and it was just staring him right in the face! 

As the two of us walked back home that night, I kept my feelings to myself: they were too dark to share with him. I felt like we were now wrestling with Hell itself!

But, isn't the morning a wonderful thing? We all got up the next day. The sun was shining. Dave was uninjured. It was a beautiful day. 

As Dave and I walked back once again to the scene of the crash, I paused for a moment, at a remarkable sight. We hadn't noticed it in the dark the night before, but there at the crest of the little hill just outside town, was a sharp right turn and straight ahead just beyond that turn, was a perilous twenty-foot drop right into somebody's tea-fields. "Dave! Look at this!" I exclaimed. "If you hadn't veered off the road and run into that pole, you would have gone right over this cliff!" We both knew it was true! 

At the van, I climbed inside and it fired right up. There hadn't been nearly as much damage as we'd feared. So Dave climbed in and I put it in reverse and backed the van away from the pole...

...and that's when we both caught our breath! There on the pole, just below the six Buddhist characters, was another sticker, with seven characters this time! 內蘇샘떽復삶죄 Ye-su Ji-du fu-huo le (Oh, these I'll print!)  "Jesus Christ has risen from the dead". 

Those seven characters were right at the point of impact: the crushed front end was literally wrapped around them. It had been those seven precious words—not the others—that had taken the brunt! That had stopped that van! 

As we drove back up the hill and rounded the bend at the cliff once again, we both knew something glorious had happened—not something dark, or evil or foreboding! Our wonderful Savior—the Lord of our Resurrection!—had rescued Dave from the cliff that night! 

I never think back on that night without giving Him thanks. And whenever the road becomes dark and gloomy; whenever the storm becomes overwhelming, I remember that night and how gloriously our Heavenly Father turned it into a victory; turned it into a glorious rescue.  Stay true troubled heart, and stay strong, because that's what He'll do for you too!   

See you Sunday.                                      RAS 

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