Joel of Jerusalem Oct/Nov 1974
Hatred Turns To Friendship
First of all I want to say that I had a profitable time in the army.
There was a particular officer who sought every occasion to trap me into disobeying an order so that he could throw me into prison. He was like a cat after his prey. He did this because I was a believer. But I never gave him the occasion.
One day he ordered me to do much cleaning, hoping that I would refuse. This would be all he needed. Sometimes he would think a long time, preparing work for me. But he realized that every order he gave I did happily, with a song in my heart and on my lips. Everytime I would sing a different song. This time I sang of having a song in my heart because God was with me. It was a song from the Bible.
This infuriated him so that he became like a tiger. In his fury he asked me where I learned all these songs. I told him that I would be happy to teach him these songs if he wished. If he would sing the songs they would make him happy because they are giving thanks to the Lord, |but he only returned an angry stare.
I said, “Yes, you are an officer now, an important person, but that is only for a short time. In God’s sight you are very small, even smaller than I because I believe on Him. Save yourself now; now is the time; tomorrow may be too late. The Lord, our Saviour, will save you.”
Infuriated he warned, “You just wait until tomorrow. You will not sing any longer; instead you will cry, and we will see if your Lord will help you this time.”
As he went to his tent, I knew what he was planning, but I was sure in whom I believed. My heart went out to this man in prayer to God.
That night I slept well, with a quiet heart because I knew his planning was only through fear, and I had the Lord in my heart.
Morning came and he called me, giving me the orders for the day. We were to clean a large mine field which is an extremely dangerous job.
“I want to see if you will still sing,”’ he challenged.
“It will not be the first time. This has been my job for the past 26 years, but you certainly must be afraid,” I said.
As we started out I prayed in my heart, “God you are my Saviour and Redeemer, so I’m not alone.” The Lord brought peace to my heart and I began to sing, singing of my Father’s heavenly home.
The officer was very nervous and his heart was heavy. As we began our work he wanted to prove himself a man to me, so he proceeded to go down a road. When I saw he was heading straight for a mine, I ran to him, pulling him away at just the right moment. This would have meant sure death for him.
At that moment his face became as white-as snow for fear and he was unable to speak.
After a few moments he said weakly, ”Thank you. You saved my life.”
I said, “Not me. It was the Lord who gave Himself to save all people (John 3:16), He doesn’t want us to die; He wants to give us life. Therefore, He gave you this occasion to come to Him and ask for forgiveness, so that you will be saved and have everlasting life.”’
He said to me. “Please forgive me. I was not good to you, but from now on we will be good friends. Now I see that I am nothing. I want to hear your songs again.”
Please pray for this officer that the Lord will show him the way.