Monday, June 24, 2013

The Words that Saved a Life

Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, once told the story of a single missionary who served the Lord in China for many years.  In 1948, all missionaries were expelled from the country and told never to return. 

This woman went anyway 

Before her ship sailed for China, Mr. Trotman met her at the dock to pray for her and to encourage her in the Lord.

Watching her step onto the ship, he called out to her with one final word. He gave her a special verse to hold on to no matter what she might encounter.

Not long after her return to China, this woman learned the price of her decision. She endured severe persecution, involving imprisonment and torture. 

Many were encouraged by the guards to take their lives. 

Some did. 

Later, this woman confessed to having entertained the idea herself. Two years of suffering wreaked havoc on her mind and her body.

When the missionaries and other Americans were finally freed and told they could return to their home countries, this woman looked first for Dawson Trotman. 

She couldn’t thank him enough for his words that day at the dock. She had replayed those words and his prayer in her heart many times.

More importantly, when the persecution and pain and torture were more than she could bear, she recalled the verse Mr. Trotman had given her. 

Many times, when she was at the breaking point, she meditated on the words of that verse.   

And the hope that filled those words kept her from breaking.

The verse he gave her saved her life.

After telling this story, Dawson Trotman was suddenly surrounded by his eager listeners.

“What was the verse you gave her?” they asked.

But he refused to tell them.

“Please tell us,” they continued to plead.

“What was the comfort that enabled this woman to endure her suffering? What was the verse that gave her such hope?”

Dawson Trotman finally replied.

“There are hundreds of them.”

[Based on the story as retold by Ron Mehl in a sermon entitled, “Dealing with a Troubled Mind.”]

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