Monday, October 24, 2011

How to become a Christian in an atheist nation (pt 2)

Here is another believer’s story.

Mike* is a computer engineer from Guangzhou in Guangdong province.  Guangzhou is the third largest city in China.

“I came to the Lord in 1988,” says Mike.  “[Before that] if somebody told me that so and so had become a Christian I thought that they were idiots.  So God didn’t really use anyone to share the Good News with me.  He used a dog.”

Mike proceeds to share a memory of his childhood with me.  When he was a little boy he had a pet dog.  The dog was injured in an accident and it was covered in blood.  “I was really scared,” he recollected.  “I had no idea how to help my dog.”  The horrifying image of the suffering bleeding dog stayed with him through to adulthood, and he has had a soft spot for pets since.

He then went on to share how one day, when he was 25, he and a friend were watching TV.  It was Sunday and there weren’t many good shows to choose from.  After scanning the channels they settled on watching a cartoon about a hiker who got lost trekking in the Alps during a blizzard.  The snow on the ground grew deeper and deeper, and the hiker found himself stuck in a drift.  He was freezing and hungry.  All hope for survival and help seemed lost.

Then out of the blustery snow a shape began to emerge.  It grew larger as it drew nearer.  It looked like an animal.  Was it a wolf?  A bear?  No, it was a St. Bernard.  In the blinding snowy conditions the hiker readied his knife to defend himself, fearing for his life.  And as the huge dog drew within range he stabbed it.  But the dog did not die and while wounded and bleeding, still tried to help the hiker.

At this point in the show Mike said, “I don’t want to watch this.”  The memories of his own bloody dog began to fill his mind again.  So he began to flip channels once more.  But there was nothing else of interest on.  Eventually he returned to the cartoon.

By this time the dog, still bleeding, decided to get more help and ran back to his master, who happened to be a monk.  The monk was clothed in a robe with a cross on his chest, and the dog bit hold of the hem to make his master follow him.  The dog dragged his master back to the hiker, who was then rescued.  The show then cut to scenes of the St. Bernard, which slowly died from its knife wounds.

Mike was outraged.  “Why?  How could that happen?” he exclaimed.  He was angry that the dog had died and that the master had helped the hiker.  “If I was the master I would kick that guy down the mountain!  That dog was good!  That dog was helping him!”

But Mike’s friend said, “Wow, this has to be God.”  He was referring to the fact that the dog had sacrificed its life to save the hiker, much like Jesus.  He also noted that the monk had a cross on his robe and concluded “he is a follower of Jesus.”

Mike was profoundly impacted by the sacrifice of the dog.  He realized that “the dog is much better than me.”  Furthermore the monk still helped the hiker even though he killed his dog.  If he was in the same situation Mike knew he wouldn’t have helped the hiker.  And was what his friend saying true too?  Did Jesus also give up his life for the whole world?

Because of what he saw in the dog and his friend’s explanation of Jesus and His forgiveness, Mike came to the conclusion that “Jesus must be God.  He must be God.”  From that day he committed in his heart to follow the Lord.

Somehow the idea of God speaking through a donkey doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it once did.

* When speaking with foreigners, Mike introduces himself with the English name he has chosen for himself.

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