No internet connection!?! Really!?! That’s what we said when we moved into our new home three years ago. Nope. Not even dial-up. Nothing, nada, zilch, nil. It’s amazing to think that in today’s day and age there could be places in rural America that does not have internet availability unless you buy a satellite connection. (We don’t even have a telephone OR cable lines to our residence, and no – we are not trying to live off grid!) So we researched the only two options and went with tethering from our cell phones. We really wanted to set healthy boundaries because one of us is a movie addict, and the other one is a web researcher addict. If we limited ourselves to so many GBs of data a month, we would cut down our screen time. It has worked. Sort of.
As I went to stay with family until Grandson #2 made his appearance, I had the opportunity to have unlimited wi-fi. Oh, be still my heart. One of the things I enjoy is reading – but I’m cheap. I will dig around in the Kindle archives and find publications so old that they are free. Since I enjoy American history, biographies, and non-fiction I usually have a fun time downloading all sorts of titles that I pay nothing for. Go Me! While at Honorable Son’s house, I did just that, scooping up about 30 new books to read. Not all of them are of like genre. Some are disappointing, others are boring. But what I did not expect was to find a handful of books that held a running thread of similarity. You might call it the scarlet thread of redemption. Let me share them with you.
The first book that I read was: “Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.” An autobiography that detailed what her captivity was like when she was captured in 1675 in New England. It is a brief account of 57 pages – but filled with great detail. She lost one daughter, but her remaining daughter and son, also captured at the same time survived. What made this book remarkable to me was the fact that through all that she endured, she never lost faith in her Lord, and she continually used scripture to exhort herself and her two children. I would dare to say that 1/4th of this book is quotes from the Bible. I was struck by how the sheer dependency she had on God and His written word. But similarly I was struck by how little you would hear such verbiage out of the mouths of today’s Christians in America.
The second book is entitled “Uncommon Character: Stories of Ordinary Men and Women Who Have Done the Extraordinary” by Douglas Feavel. I was not expecting what I uncovered. Feavel took the opportunity as a substitute teacher later in his life and began to weave stories for his students that would inspire and challenge them. His motive was to put within their grasp the ability to become as the heroes in his true-life stories. He was building their character and integrity by giving them a verbal picture they could hold on to and build upon. A quote from his prologue states, “If you give a man a fact, he will learn; if you give him a truth, he will believe; if you give him a story, it will live in his heart forever. If, after gaining their attention, I was also able to capture their soul, then I could impart some indelible, take-away guidance.”
Feavel is a Godly man, and every chapter is prefaced and closed with scripture. He points to the similarities of the individual’s character to those of Christ. He has 26 chapters, each with a different mini-biography of the person highlighted and what they had done for humanity. Many of these men and women gave their lives as the ultimate offering to save others. The depth of bravery plus lack of selfishness was astounding as I read through each individual tribute. There were those that helped hide the Jews and children during the Holocaust, to people like Annie Oakley, and a few American presidents thrown in. All types of people in all walks of life, woven into a book guaranteed to get you off of the sofa and out into the world to do good.
This last book is making the most impression on me, and I haven’t yet finished reading it. How it makes my heart long for the purity and devotion of those who follow Christ to be evident in our every day lives. This book is entitled: “By Canoe and Dog Train, The Adventures of Sharing the Gospel with Canadian Indians” by Rev. Egerton Young. In this book Rev. Young gives a brief history of how evangelists came to the North Country in the mid 1800s. He was commissioned in 1868 as a newly married minister sent to bring the Truth to a land of people far removed from what we would consider civilization.
What has struck my heart in this rather lengthy book is the attitudes and lifestyles of both Young and his Godly converts. They live in holiness, purity and utter devotion to their Lord and His word. Their hunger for the Word cannot be quenched. Their unity and love for each other, even from differing tribes outranks that of modern Christianity. Their undying love and fervent zeal to please their Holy Master and His Great Spirit is unparalleled. They have an attitude that if God said it, they believe it and that settles it – and with the most tender love and deepest conviction they are shining ambassadors to the world around them. He and his trusted companions travel thousands of miles, summer and winter to minister to the far stretched tribes with much personal cost from the harsh environment. Such a far cry from Christians today.
This book has broken my heart. I yearn for the depth of holiness they had to be evident in today’s churches. I long to hear speech that isn’t laced with coarse language. For love and unity to be rampant within His Body of believers. I especially ache as I see other Christians struggling as if on the surface of an ocean, treading water and trying desperately to stay afloat by their own strength. They do so because of sin in their lives, because they have not fully yielded and subjected themselves to the Loving Father who gives good gifts to His children, who carries them through the valley of the shadow of death, and who leads them besides still waters in verdant pastures of sweet green grass.
My life has been blessed so abundantly I cannot begin to recount the help and miracles from on high. But it comes at a cost, a dear cost. The price is 100% of me, which now belongs to Him who can take better care of me than I can. And He has, over and over and over again. And I know that He will continue to do so for all eternity. That isn’t a bad trade-in value if you ask me. After reading 3/4ths of this book, I find myself in an interesting situation. I want to evangelize. I have never wanted to evangelize before in my life!! I teach His word. I disciple with His word. I pray His word. And now I want to go and shake these apathetic believers until God does as He says in Eze. 36:26-28 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put MY Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. You will live in the land . . you will be My people and I will be your God. I will save you from your uncleanness; and will call for the grain and multiply it and not bring a famine upon you. I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the fields.”
Where are you today on the Richter scale of holiness? What is it that is bringing you down from where you should be? Whatever it is, it’s not worth it as it separates you from the One who loves you more than His own life and longs for you to be ever near to His heart.