Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Angel’s Hand

One day as a child, as he was coming home from school, Molyono saw a piece of paper partially buried in the dirt.  Curious he picked it up.  The winkled and dirty piece of paper turned out to be a Christian pamphlet titled “Where Are the Dead?”  Tucking it into his notebook he hurried on home.  That evening as he did his homework he read what the pamphlet said about what happens when people die.  It was complete different from anything his father, a cleric serving at the local mosque, had told him.  The pamphlet told of a resurrection day when all that sleep in the grave will rise to meet Jesus. 

The next morning Mulyono asked his father about what he had read.  His father angrily asked where he had heard such fanatical ideas.  Mulyono showed his father the pamphlet he had found on his way home from school.  With only a glance at the tract his father ripped it to shreds and tossed it into the fire.  Molyono was forbidden ever to mention the name of Jesus again. 

Years passed and Molyono left home while in his teens to work in the Indonesian city of Motoling, sharing a tiny room with three other young men in a crowded tenement building.  Physically strong, he took up martial arts, and joined a rough street gang. 

One day a Christian missionary evangelist came and began holding a series of meetings in a large tent on Suclirman Boulvard in the city.  It did not take long for Mulyono and four of his friends to decide to go down to where the meetings were being held and try to break them up.  After all they reasoned, Allah cannot be happy when one teaches from a holy book other than the Koran. 

Sneaking down the narrow, winding back streets, they made their way to the tent where already a crowd of people had gathered to listen to the missionary evangelist.  They waited in the dark until the missionary got up to speak.  He was standing under one of three kerosene lanterns that illuminated the open sided tent.  Mulyono had a good throwing arm. Impulsively picking up a stone he hurled it at the lantern that was hanging over the pulpit some 40 feet away, anticipating the panic that would ensue when the rock struck.

Then it happened.  Just as the stone was about to strike the lantern, a mysterious bright hand reached out of thin air and intercepted it.  Incredulously Mulyono watched as the hand vanished along with the stone he had thrown at the lantern.  The lantern itself seemed to shine even brighter than before.  To Mulyono’s frightened mind, the hand could be nothing other than the hand of an angel.

No sooner had the hand disappeared than Mulyono was struck by a sharp pain in his right arm, and it fell numb to his side.  The numbness spread up his arm into his neck and face.  As he crumpled to the ground his companions, who had also seen it all, fled in panic, leaving him alone outside the tent.  Out of sight of those inside the tent he could clearly hear the minister’s message.  Convinced that the attack was a divine punishment, he prayed for forgiveness and surrendered himself to the will of God.  Slowly the numbness began to go away.  When that evenings meeting ended, Mulyono pulled himself together and made his way back through the darkness to his little room.

The next night Mulyono and a number of his gang friends returned to the tent.  But this time they were not there to cause trouble.  Arriving early, they took seats and stayed for the service.  Night after night Mulyono and his friends returned to the tent, stirred with a realization that what the missionary was speaking was truth.

Surrendering their hearts to God, Mulyono and four of his gang members were baptized a few weeks later.  With encouragement from the missionary Mulyono enrolled in a Christian college.  He graduated from the ministerial course, and with his new bride, Tina, entered the ministry.  All because he saw an angel’s hand.