One “God” story–of which there are thousands like it

In the days of Communist Russia, when Christians were an oppressed minority, those who risked their lives for Jesus and the gospel often found God at work in amazing ways.

This is one of those stories.  It comes from my journal from January 5, 1992.  No one who believes in the living God will be surprised; all who believe in Him will be blessed.

Missionary Ralph Bethea was giving out Bibles in Russia. He went to one home where an old gentleman spoke of abandoning Communism and returning to the faith of his mother.  He had no Bible, so Ralph gave him one.

The old gentleman clutched it to his chest, then invited in his neighbors and read it to them for four hours.

One man in the audience was a former KGB agent.  Ralph led him to faith in Christ.

When Ralph ran out of Bibles and many people were disappointed, the ex-KGB man said, “I know where there are 40,000 Bibles.”

That government agency had confiscated them over the years.

Ralph Bethea worked with the man who went to the agency and requested them to auction off all those Bibles.  They ended up getting them for $1,000.

At the warehouse where they had been stored, they took one of the boxes and cut it open.  Ralph reached in and pulled out the first Bible and, in appreciation, handed it to the old man whom he had first led to Christ.

The man opened it and started crying.

This was his mother’s Bible–confiscated by the secret police 30 years earlier.

A God thing.

(Notes in my journal say the source for this story was the associational newsletter from my seminary classmate William H. Lowe, director of missions at the time, in Dublin, Georgia.  It identified its source as a similar newsletter from Galveston, TX.)

We read something like this and say with Jacob when he awakened on the plains of Bethel after dreaming of Heaven last night, “This is the very gate of heaven. Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not!”

Anyone who loves a story of God at work, a “God-winks” kind of thing, should corner a Gideon and ask for some of his tales.

No one sees the hand of God in these coincidences the way the men of this organization (and the women of their auxiliary) do. I encourage every pastor to invite a member of the Gideons to present an annual report on this work to his church and then receive an offering to help purchase Bibles. Also, every minister should attend the annual pastors’ dinner (or breakfast) in his area where a featured speaker usually tells how God reached him and transformed his life through his finding and reading a Gideon Bible.

At one such dinner, the speaker told of a group of Gideons traveling overseas to distribute scriptures in schools. The principal of a huge high school forbade them from entering. So, they thanked him and walked away, as they began looking for other places to minister. The next day, while handing out New Testaments on the campus of a local community college, they noticed a swarm of yellow school buses pulling up.  Hundreds of teenagers got off the buses and flowed onto the grounds.  It turned out the high school which would not receive them was bringing their students to that college for a day on campus.  The Gideons eagerly handed out Bibles to those hungry students.

God loves His little jokes.

What is it they say about coincidences? That they are God wanting to remain anonymous.  If so, it doesn’t work. Those who know Him see His hand in a thousand places every day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.