One Would Never Suspect

Bill Brinkworth

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” — II Corinthians 5:17

N.’s family was one of the most faithful families in the little Romanian church. They hardly ever missed services. They were an integral part of the church’s soul-winning ministry. N., however, fought their dedication at every opportunity. He never wanted to go with his family to the services. He did not want to go to any of the church activities. The young Romanian was very cold to conversations concerning anything about the Lord. Often he would leave church before the services were over. Sometimes his resistance kept his family from even attending.

The church’s pastor, Missionary Patrick Boyle, was building his family’s house. He had taken out one lastbank loan to purchase essentials for the house, including sinks, toilets, and faucets. These, along with his tools, were left in the unfinished house, while he went home to where he was temporarily staying. When he returned the next day, he was shocked to find everything he had purchased, and much that was left in the house, was gone. He had been robbed!

The missionary’s first reaction to the crime was anger. Soon the anger caused him to look down on the people. “Here we come to help these people, and they rob us,” entered his mind. He started wondering who was it that had robbed him. Most were possible suspects of the burglary of his property. He was overcome with the evil done against him.

Then the ever-present, small “voice” of the Holy Spirit reminded the missionary’s heart that they were not there for faucets, toilets, or even the house. They were there because God called him to minister to the gypsy people. Soon, Patrick decided to overcome evil with good. No matter whom they encountered, he was determined to treat all kindly. He doubled his efforts to win the people over to Christ by being a good example.

A year had gone by, and N. started coming back to church. It was not long until this young man was attending every service. He was now interested and growing mightily in living for the Lord.

One day N. had a private conversation with the missionary. Then, as difficult as it was for him, N. confessed to being the one who had stolen the house’s contents. He apologized for what he had done. Through tears, he admitted that his goal was to hurt the work and prove to himself that the missionaries had an easy life, and did not really care for him or his people. He truly expected the missionary and his family to leave, but they did not! It was soon evident to N. that the family had to do without because of his stealing the house’s contents. They did not go out and buy new things to replace their loss. The missionary’s reaction to what had been done against him had convicted N’s heart.

It was not long until the Romanian ex-thief got saved. At one time, the missionary had thought that N. was one of those that “probably would never get saved!” Now the young man is one of the most faithful in the congregation. He is a devoted soul-winner, and is even training to be a pastor. Many times when the Pastor was away it was N. who would fill in and preach in the Romanian church.

The Holy Spirit’s power to convert lives is amazing. Some of the “hardest’ and most wicked hearts are mere putty in the hands of God. He can change all that are willing. For many, they have to reach the “bottom” before they can be changed. For each of us the “bottom” is different. We would never suspect whom God would change, or whom He would use. Many may have thought the same about us before we were saved. I am so glad God does not give up on us “impossible” cases.

  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” — II Corinthians 5:17


This article was featured in The Bible View #201.

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