Many years ago, when I was visiting a city on the Amazon, I went to see a Brazilian Christian who was in deep trial. The man belonged to an up-country village to which the gospel had been taken, with the happy result that he and his family had received the Good News and turned to Christ. For a time he gave a faithful testimony, and then a great calamity fell on him. He contracted leprosy.
At that time there was no cure, so this meant that he had to become an outcast. He left his happy home and was exiled to the leper colony, to face a lingering death in loneliness and poverty. How strange are God's ways!
This brother had truly consecrated his life to Christ and yet now he found himself among a group of human derelicts. As a young missionary, preparing to go into the jungle, I was greatly moved by his story and decided to pay him a visit. My purpose was to take him some material and spiritual comfort, though I confess that I wondered what might have happened to his sorely-tried faith.
I need not have wondered. Imagine my surprise and joy when I arrived there and found him the central figure among a little band of Christian lepers, everyone of them led to Christ by his radiant testimony. He told me that at first he had entered his life on that island with a heavy heart, but soon he had come to realise that he was in that dreary place by the will of God.
As Christ had been sent into the world, so he had been sent to his needy fellow lepers, to carry God's message of hope to them. If his newly converted friends had known the Scripture, they might have exclaimed, "How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things" (Romans 10:15). Even a leper's feet can be beautiful!
For me it was a humbling and an inspiring experience to hear this dear man's prayer as he poured out his heart in praise to God for the privilege of serving Him in that place.
Jesus left His disciples in the world, and He has left us there. He sent them into the world, and He has sent us. No need, then, for unbelief to question why we are where we are, but rather for faith to rejoice in the privilege of being in the place of His sending, and of staying here so long as the Father has a purpose for postponing the call for us to "come up higher".Post published in: Faith