. . . My word that goes out from my mouth . . . will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11, NIV).
A group of subversives burnt down Steve and Jolene Smith’s* house in a village of the language group they worked with, after the couple had been evacuated. How can God bring something good out of this? they wondered. What would be the future of their decades-long project?
Two years later, Steve and Jolene received a long-distance telephone call from a man named Ricardo*. He revealed that he had led the subversives in looting and burning down their home. Remarkably, Ricardo had found a Bible that survived the fire and slipped it into his pocket. Later, he read it.
Tears welled in Steve’s eyes as he listened to Ricardo’s story. Ricardo explained that God used the Scriptures to change his life. He had received Jesus as Saviour. He then asked Steve for forgiveness for helping the subversives in their destructive act.
Later, Ricardo attended seminary and went on to become one of the main translators in the language group. He made a significant contribution to revising the rough draft translation of the New Testament and finishing it.
A home destroyed . . . everything burned . . . a Bible translation ministry up in flames . . . Scriptures untouched . . . the power of God’s Word . . . a soul saved for eternity . . . a worker provided to help his own people get Scriptures in their heart language.
God promises in Isaiah 55: 11 that His Word will not return void. He uses it to accomplish what He desires when He sends it. This is true in a rebel’s life like Ricardo. It is true for his entire language group. It is true wherever Scriptures can be understood, accepted and applied in the heart language. It is true in your life too!
*Pseudonyms used due to sensitivity
Photo courtesy of Stephen Radford, Unsplash