Down in the basement of the Chapel hanging on the wall, his face was one of a hundred young faces of the Class of 1907, filled far more with the look of heavenly inspiration than with worldly aspiration. He was a handsome young man in a starched white collar and black tie sort of way, the definition of dashing in that era of holiness that seemed so long go.. And as I gazed into his eyes, I could see the fire of holy calling gazing back at me. The visage of the young E. Stanley Jones, the young man who had followed a voice into life of mission work in India, now conversed with me face to face. “Young man, you hear it too, do you not?”
I was first reluctant to answer; then I was afraid to answer; but, in the end, I was compelled to answer. “Yes, E. Stanley, I have heard that call to serve the poor who huddle the streets of India.”
“I know,” he whispered, I presume through some ministry of the Spirit. “But E. Stanley, the voice it tells me that it is not for their sake that I am to go, but more for my own.”
“I understand, young man, as one day you will understand one day down the road a ways.”
“I have read your books.”
“I know. Give thanks for when I echoed the voice of God; forgive me when I was too filled with my own. Be sure to read far more than me. Any one of us can only catch snippets of God’s truth, here and there. But put them altogether and we can gain a deeper understanding. The Spirit does work that way, you know. And it just may be that one day you will have words to write on His behalf.”
“I hope so, E. Stanley. No, I do more than that, I pray so.”
“And do keep praying young man, every moment, every mile. And know that we will always be praying for you and for those who wait, every moment, every mile.”
“E. Stanley, do you have any wisdom to set me on my way?”
“If I were you and you were me, what counsel would you bring to my soul?”
I was slow to answer for fear of answering tritely, but E. Stanley listened on patiently. Then I dared offered what finally came to mind, “Love God and love your people.”
I felt as if the young man in the fading photograph smiled at me the smile of gentle peace. And then when my words had lost the last vestige of their echo, he spoke but two more words. “India awaits.”
And now after all these moments and after all these miles, I too am a fading photograph in the basement of the Chapel watching young men and women go walking by.
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