As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (NIV)
I love reading missionary biographies. They are an inspiration to me as I read of the workersí faithfulness. Often missionaries labor for many years without seeing much fruit. Yet, they persevere. One account was a little different.
This biography was set in China in the 1930ís. China was a wild place and many Chinese men supported their families by joining bandit gangs. One man received an unusual item from one of the raids carried out by his gang. It was a large book with beautiful binding and quality pages filled with Chinese characters. He was drawn to the book, though he did not understand why. Since he knew how to read, he began reading it. The stories filled him with hope, and he began sharing them with his wife and children.
Several weeks later, the man was at the local market and he heard a man with light-colored skin speaking. As he approached, he recognized the words. The man was reading from the same book he had at home! He listened intently but left without speaking to the man. The next week, the Chinese man listened to the light-skinned man again. This went on for several weeks. Finally, the Chinese man invited the man to his home. Of course, the light-skinned man agreed.
When he arrived at the Chinese home, the missionary was wonderfully surprised. The Chinese man showed him his Bible and told him how he had acquired it. He also said he needed someone to help him understand it fully. The missionary was excited for the opportunity and eagerly explained the gospel to the family. That very night the Chinese man, his wife and some of his children asked Jesus to be their savior.
Godís Word is powerful. It accomplishes His plan and purpose, as Isaiah wrote so many years ago. It can change hearts, as it did in this situation, even when read from a stolen Bible.