This is an excerpt of the testimony of a Christian man in a closed nation. His mother had known Jesus before the harsh persecution broke out, but walked away from Jesus in times of hardship. When the man was a boy, his father became very ill with terminal cancer. The family tried every medical treatment and traditional remedy they could, selling all their valuable possessions in an effort to save his life. The doctors finally sent him home to die, which is where Jesus breaks back into this story:
“We hoped my father would get better, but his condition worsened. My mother was under great pressure, facing the daunting prospect of raising five children alone. She didn’t know what would happen to us if father died. Things were so hopeless that she even contemplated suicide.
One night my mother was lying on her bed, barely awake. Suddenly she heard a very clear and tender, compassionate voice say, ‘Jesus loves you.’ She knelt down on the floor and tearfully repented of her sins and re-dedicated herself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the Prodigal Son, my mother came home to God.
She immediately called our family to come and pray to Jesus. She told us, ‘Jesus is the only hope for Father.’ All of us committed our lives to God when we heard what had happened. We then laid our hands on my father and for the rest of the night we cried out a simple prayer, ‘Jesus, heal Father! Jesus, heal Father!’
The very next morning my father found he was much better! For the first time in months he had an appetite for food. Within a week he had recovered completely and had no trace of cancer! It was a great miracle from God.
We experienced revival in our family and our lives took a drastic change. It was such a powerful time that today, almost 30 years after Jesus healed my Father, all five of his children still follow God.
My parents were so grateful to God for what he had done that they immediately wanted to share the good news with everyone else in our village. In those days it was illegal to hold any meetings or public gatherings, but my parents came up with a plan. They sent us children to invite relatives and friends to come to our home.
People came to our home without knowing the reason why they’d been summoned. Many presumed Father must have died and so they came dressed for the funeral! They were amazed to see my dad greet them at the door, apparently in good health! When all our relatives and friends had arrived, my parents asked them all to come inside the house. They locked the door and covered the windows, and explained how Father had been completely healed by praying to Jesus. All our relatives and friends knelt down on the floor and gladly accepted Jesus as Lord and Master.
These were exciting times. Not only did I receive Jesus as my personal Saviour, but I also became a person who really wanted to serve the Lord with all my heart.”
Now, read how this young man grew in his faith:
“At first, I didn’t really know who Jesus was, but I’d seen him heal my father and liberate our family. I confidently committed myself to the God who had healed my father and saved us. During that time, I frequently asked my mother who Jesus truly was. She told me, ‘Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for us, taking all our sins and sicknesses. He recorded all his teachings in the Bible.‘
…From that day on I earnestly wanted to have a copy of my own Bible. I asked my mother and fellow Christians what a Bible looked like, but no one knew. One person had seen some hand copied Scripture portions and song sheets, but never a whole Bible. Only a few old believers could recall seeing Bibles many years before. The Word of God was scarce in the land.
I was so hungry for a Bible. Seeing my desperation, my mother remembered an old man who lived in another village. This man had been a pastor before the [persecution].
Together we started out on the long walk to his home. When we found him we told him our desire, ‘We long to see a Bible. Do you have one?’
He immediately looked fearful. This man had already spent nearly 20 years in prison for his faith…
The old man simply told me, ‘The Bible is a heavenly book. If you want one, you’ll need to pray to the God of heaven. Only he can provide you a heavenly book. God is faithful. He always answers those who seek him with all of their heart.‘
I fully trusted the pastor’s words…
I went home, and every morning and afternoon I ate and drank nothing. Every evening I ate just one small bowl of steamed rice. I cried like a hungry child to his heavenly Father, wanting to be filled with his Word. For the next one hundred days I prayed for a Bible, until i could bear it no more. My parents were sure I was losing my mind…
Then, suddenly one morning at 4 a.m., after months of begging God to answer my prayers, I received a vision from the Lord while kneeling by my bed.
In the vision, I was walking up a steep hill, trying to push a heavy cart in front of me. I was heading towards a village where I intended to beg for food for my family. I was struggling greatly, because in my vision I was hungry and weakened by constant fasting. The old cart was about to roll back and fall on me.
I then saw three men walking down the hill in the opposite direction. A kind old man, who had a very long beard, was pulling a large cart full of fresh bread. Two other men were walking on each side of the cart. When the old man saw me he felt great pity and showed me compassion. He asked, ‘Are you hungry?’ I replied, ‘Yes. I have nothing to eat. I’m on my way to get food for my family.’
I wept because my family was extremely poor. Because of my father’s sickness we’d sold everything valuable to buy medicine. We had little to eat, and for years we’d been forced to beg for food from friends and neighbours. When the old man asked me if I was hungry I couldn’t help but cry. I’d never felt such genuine love and compassion from anyone before.
In the vision the old man took a red bag of bread from his trolley and asked his two servants to give it to me. He said, ‘You must eat it immediately.’
I opened the wrapping and saw there was a bun of fresh bread inside. When I put the bun in my mouth, it instantly turned into a Bible! Immediately, in my vision, I knelt down with my Bible and cried out to the Lord in thanksgiving, ‘Lord, your name is worthy to be praised! You didn’t despise my prayer. You allowed me to receive this Bible. I want to serve you for the rest of my life.’
I woke up and started searching for the Bible. The rest of my family was asleep. The vision had been so real to me that when I realized it had only been a dream I was deeply anguished and I wept loudly. My parents rushed to my room to see what had happened. They thought I had gone crazy because of all my fasting and praying. I told them about my vision, but the more I shared, the crazier they thought I was! Mother said, ‘The day hasn’t dawned yet and no one has come to our house. The door is firmly locked.’
My father held me tightly. With tears in his eyes he cried to God, ‘Dear Lord, have mercy on my son. Please don’t let him lose his mind. I’m willing to be sick again if it will prevent my son from losing his mind. Please give my son a Bible!’
My mother, father and I knelt down and wept together, arm in arm.
Suddenly I heard a faint knock at the door. A very gentle voice called my name. I rushed over and asked through the locked door, ‘Are you bringing the bread to me?’ The gentle voice replied, ‘Yes, we have a bread feast to give you.’
I immediately recognized the voice as the same one I had heard in the vision.
I quickly opened the door and there standing before me were the same two servants I had seen in the vision. One man held a red bag in his hand. My heart raced as I opened the bag and held in my hands my very own Bible!
The two men quickly departed into the still darkness.
I clutched my new Bible to my heart and fell down on my knees outside the door. I thanked God again and again! I promised Jesus that from that moment on I would devour his Word like a hungry child.
Later I found out the names of those two men… They came from a village far away. They told me about an evangelist whom I’d never met. He had suffered terribly for the Lord during the [persecution], and had nearly died while being tortured.
About three months before I received my Bible this evangelist had received a vision from the Lord. God showed him a young man to whom he was to give his hidden Bible. In the vision he saw our house and the location of our village.
Like many Christians at the time, the old man had placed his Bible inside a can and buried it deep in the ground, hoping a day would come when he could dig it up and read it again. Despite this vision, it took the evangelist a few months before he decided to obey what the Lord had told him to do. He asked two other Christian men to deliver it to me. They then walked throughout the night to reach my home.
From that moment on I prayed to Jesus with faith-filled prayer. I fully trusted that the words in the Bible were God’s words to me. I always held the Bible. Even when I slept I laid it on my chest. I devoured its teachings like a hungry child.”
The Jesus who broke into this family is still the same Jesus today! Jesus still loves you; He is still the only hope in impossible situations; He died on the cross, taking your sin and sickness; He is faithful, always answering whole-hearted prayers; He still speaks; and He wants to speak to YOU!
We owe everything to our Jesus, so let us seek Him with all of our hearts – not holding back in fear or doubt – firmly believing the simple Gospel and devouring His Word like hungry children!!!