"Still I Will Follow"

Posted by donna on April 7, 2016

Capture.PNG"Lord, (Peter said) to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68

Last month I shared with you the cost of being a true believer by telling the story of St. Alban, set in an ancient context. This month, I want to continue the theme of standing boldly for Jesus in a pagan society in a more modern setting.  The following story was given to me by a dear friend.   I will share it (with a few adjustments.)

Remember the little song from Sunday School...

"I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back
Though none go with me, still I will follow
The world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back …"

Approximately 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, United Kingdom.  As a result, many missionaries came from Wales to northeast India to spread the Gospel.  The region was known as Assam and was comprised of hundreds of tribes.  The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive.  The tribesmen were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible.  A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected.  

Into this hostile and aggressive community came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace and the hope of Jesus Christ.  Naturally, they were not welcomed.  One Welsh missionary finally witnessed the conversion of a man, his wife, and two children.  This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity.  Intense with anger, the village chief summoned all the villagers.  He then called the family who had been converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man sang his reply, “I have decided to follow Jesus.  No turning back.”  Enraged by the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to 'arrow down' the two children.  As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith?  You have lost both your children.  You will also lose your wife.”   The man replied, again singing, “Though none go with me, still I will follow.  No turning back.”

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered the man’s wife to be 'arrowed down.'  In a moment she joined her two children in death.  He then approached the man for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”

In the face of death the man sang, “The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.  No turning back.”  He was immediately murdered.  With these deaths, a miracle took place.  The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man.  He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago?  There must be some supernatural power behind the family, and I too want that supernatural power.”  In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!”  When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

This compelling story, dramatic as it is, is not uncommon among those who stand for Christ in towns and villages around the world. During the 1980’s in Thatago, Central Thailand, where Lois and I served for two terms, we saw firsthand the heart breaking trials of those that are the first to stand for Christ in their community. One dear farmer, under severe sanction by his family and community comes to mind. I asked him if he wanted to turn back. He said, "Jesus is my life and my very breath, what can they take away from me?" In his own way he was singing, "No turning back, no turning back." This is still true for this man to this day.  What about us? Our society easily finds ways to compel us to leave our Saviour. Can we truly say "though none go with me still I will follow?"


Willem Fietje

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