Hardly a coincidence

In 1981, the Open Doors organization clandestinely delivered one million Bibles to a Chinese beach for the benefit of house-churches.  It was called “Operation Pearl”. For various reasons it did not remain a secret and ended up being featured in Time Magazine.

In his book “The Calling,” Brother Andrews tells the story of the cost to one Chinese Pastor, a seventy-year-old house-church leader. He had received 10,000 Bibles for distribution, but being warned that the police were interrogating people, buried them in a safe place.

The officials decided that he was probably one of the organizers and called him in for interrogation,

“As the interrogators pressured him for names of others involved in Pearl, he remained silent.” . . he just shut his eyes and prayed.

“His reaction only infuriated the investigators all the more. In desperation, they resorted to an especially cruel means of torture. Taking John into the prison courtyard, they tied his hands behind his back and made him stand on a wooden box about four feet high and less than a foot wide. Then they placed a noose around his neck and attached the rope to a wooden beam above his head.

‘We have given up on you,’ the officials said. ‘The moment you sway violently or your legs collapse with fatigue, you will hang yourself. It is a just penalty for your stubbornness.’ Then they left him.”

Hours turned into days. . he couldn’t afford to sleep. His legs swelled to twice their normal size until numbness set in.  After a week, with John still standing, without sleep, food, or water past what he caught on his tongue when it rained,  word spread around the prison.  By day twelve he  was delirious but still standing.  On the thirteenth day a thunderstorm swept in.

“As he stood there pelted by the rain, his resistance gave out. A sudden flash of lightning and a simultaneous clap of thunder caused him to pitch forward. The noose tightened.

“The next thing he knew, John heard himself coughing. He was no longer standing but lying on the floor. His legs had been propped up by a chair, and he could feel the blood flowing back into his upper body. The pain was excruciating.”

People were shaking him. Gradually he realized it was the two policemen who had been guarding him.

” ‘Please,’ they shouted, ‘don’t die- please.’ John managed to clear his brain for a moment.

‘Why?’ was all he could say.

‘Because we want to know your Savior, Jesus,’ they replied, trembling.

‘But why?’ he asked again.

‘Because he saved you!’  they exclaimed. ‘ A bolt of lightening cut the rope above your head just as you fell.  Don’t tell us that was a coincidence!’ ”

The whole story is worth reading. You can find it in, “The Unforgettable Story of a Man Who Discovered the Adventure of The Calling” by Brother Andrew with Verne Becker- 1996 by Random House.

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