He watched as his little friend hurried across the road toward the store. He remembered little Jimmy and how he had helped him through the early years of his school. His family had been poor and struggling, but he had managed to encourage them to take his help till he found work for Jimmy’s father. Since then Jimmy often came, taking him away from his business as they chatted and drank a cup of chocolate. Mostly Jimmy liked to ask him about Bible events, especially enjoying the stories of God’s miracles in men’s struggles.
“Mr.! Mr.,” Jimmy called, rushing into his arms. “Did you see the poster about the man who says he can prove Christians don’t believe their God?”
“No, Jimmy, I haven’t,” Bob Manson replied, “What’s it all about?”
“Well, dad went, and he said he’s challenging Christians to drink a glass of poison,” panted the excited Jimmy, “Three nights, and nobody’s done it. Is it true that Christians don’t believe?”
Bob did not reply as he stirred the cold chocolate but he thought of the simple faith of a little child and grew frustrated that someone would cause such a one to doubt.
“Didn’t Jesus say he would save you?” Jimmy asked.
With tears in his eyes Bob replied, “I tell you what, Jimmy. If it’s ok with your mum and dad, why don’t we go tonight?”
“That’d be cool,” Jimmy responded. “I bet you’ll do something.”
The hall was packed. From next to the lectern the speaker raised a glass filled with orange colored liquid. Holding it high over his head he addressed the crowd. Claiming he was an atheist and would explain why he did not believe, he asked if there were any Christians present. A few hands rose reluctantly.
“This,” he said pointing to the glass, “Is poison. The Bible says if you drink any deadly thing it won’t harm you. Since you believe in God, why don’t you come and drink the liquid?
No one moved in the deafening silence. Jimmy looked up expectantly at Bob who sighed, took a New Testament from his pocket, rose, and walked to the front.
Standing next to the speaker he said, “Sir, take this and read from Acts five if you please.”
The speaker did as requested, then demanded, “What’s that got to do with this? Are you going to drink it?”
“I wanted you to understand, sir,” Bob explained, “That you have not challenged man, but God. Yes, I will drink your liquid but it is not I who will die. You will because you have challenged the Holy Ghost.” Picking up the glass he asked, “Are you ready to die, sir?”
He hesitantly lifted the glass to his lips. Jimmy watched wide-eyed, and the speaker raised halting hands.
“No wait, wait,” he stammered, “That’s not really poison… it wasn’t supposed to go this way. I don’t want to die.”
Booming applause and deriding catcalls filled the hall.
When the crowd quieted Bob turned to the speaker and prompted, “The truth is you really do believe but you are trying to feed your doubt. You can’t fight God, friend.”
“No I don’t,” he retorted angrily, then hung his head in shame and continued, “Yes, yes I do believe. I’ve tried not to. I didn’t want to, but when you said I would die I knew I had to. Can you forgive me?”
“God will forgive you through Jesus Christ. You must believe in him,” Bob said.
“I do believe in Jesus,” the weeping speaker fell to his knees, “Oh God, please forgive me. Jesus, I need you.”
Unnoticed Jimmy was there, tugging at Bob’s hand.
“Jesus loves him, doesn’t he Mr. Manson?” he asked.
“Yes, Jimmy, he does,” Bob Manson knelt next to the weeping man and placed his hand on his shoulder with Jimmy’s hand resting proudly on his. The hall was filled with the sounds of prayer and weeping.
Jesus said, “Except you have the faith of a little child you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Do you have such faith?
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