Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FAITH (strong, confident belief in God) (02/26/15)
TITLE: The Question
By Diane M. Bowman
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As a man, guilty only of pious living, crossed an ice-covered pond, the thief-catcher pursuing him fell through the ice. Without help, he would certainly die in the chilly water. The man heard The Question and stopped. Answering in the negative meant freedom, an affirmative response meant death. Which should he choose?
A mother of nineteen children, only ten of which survived infancy, heard The Question and gave her answer. Her husband - the man who ought to have stood by her side no matter what came - often was absent due either to a disagreement or to an unpaid debt, serving time in jail instead of being a father to his children. Anyone would understand if she answered with a no.
The Question also reached a man with only 50 cents. It was not nearly enough to begin, let alone to succeed. What possibly could prompt him to say yes?
Twenty-one young men from a poor village in Upper Egypt heard The Question. They had families who desperately depended on them. Shouldn't they say no?
They all had an abundant number of reasons to turn away from The Inquirer as he quietly asked, "When I return, will I find faith on the earth?"*
But they did not.
Upon hearing The Question, they all answered with a resounding yes.
Dirk Willems turned back and rescued his pursuer. The thief-catcher then led him off to imprisonment. As he was being burnt at the stake it is reported that he cried out loudly enough to be heard in the nearby town, "Oh my Lord; my God," over seventy times.
Susanna Wesley could have indulged in self-pity but instead purposed to spend time alone every week with each of her ten living children. When the sermon on Sunday morning was of little value, she spent the afternoon reading another one to them that taught a greater variety of spiritual lessons. Eventually over two hundred people were attending her Sunday afternoon sermons. Two of her sons, John and Charles wrote many hymns that we still sing over two centuries later.
George Mueller's answer to The Question resulted in building immense orphanages that could house as many as two thousand children. He provided food for them alone through the power of prayer, having resolved never to ask any person for funds, but to go to God alone. Over time, often just when they were in the most desperate need, George and his children received over one million dollars in donations.
The twenty-one young Coptic Christians suffered torture but still refused to deny Jesus, even though it meant they would die in their early to mid-twenties. They were beheaded while singing to the Lord they served.
Though hundreds of years have passed since he asked The Question, The Inquirer yet stands and patiently waits for an answer.
*Luke 18:8 KJV (Author's paraphrase)
Light From the Stakes, Selections for Martyrs Mirror
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