During a turbulent time in China's history, a time of war in the late 1930's, some 500 Tibetan priest waited.
Licorice herb grew in abundance on the lush side of the mountains where they lived on the Tibet-China border and every year the lamas collected it to sell in the cities. One year the men who took the herbal harvest through a village happened upon a white piece of paper and brought it back to the lamasery. Read by all the lamas, it became worn and in pieces, but was stuck to the wall where it could be read over and over. What was on the paper? John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." They learned from this that "somewhere" there was a "God who loved." For 5 years, when the appointed lamas took the licorice herb harvest into the villages to sell they also were asked by the head lama to ask this one question of everyone, "Do you know where the 'God who loved' lives". And for five years, they found out nothing. Finally, the man who had first found the piece of paper vowed that he would not return to the lamasery until he had learned more about this God.
In Len Chow, he and his companion found a Chinese evangelist who told them all he could and gave them a copy of the Gospels. Here the story continues as told by the head lama...
"Eagerly they hurried back to the lamasery and we read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We believed all that it contained, though there was much we could not understand. But one verse seemed of special importance. Christ had said, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,' so obviously one day someone would come to tell us more about this wonderful God. All we had to do was to wait and, when God sent a messenger, to be ready to receive him. For another three years we waited. Then two lamas, out on the hillside gathering sticks, heard someone singing. 'Those are the messengers we are waiting for,' they said. 'Only people who know God will sing.'"
One lama ran back to tell the others at the lamasery to prepare for the messengers while the one waited to bring them.
The messengers that the lamas saw that day and had waited 7 years for was the tiny little English missionary Gladys Aylward and her traveling companion and fellow Christian, Dr. Huang.
You can read more about her in the book The Little Woman, which I highly recommend.
Many know Gladys Aylward as the woman who, with the help of the LORD, saved hundreds of children when Japan invaded China. However, many may not know that she worked the rest of her life with a passion to tell those who had not heard about the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. She willingly went where the LORD told her to go. She loved China and would have stayed there the rest of her life telling the Chinese about Jesus Christ.
At a prayer meeting one day, a young Chinese student asked for special prayers for England. When Gladys asked why England, a Christian country, needed prayer for revival and blessing, the man told her "England, the land that send us the gospel, is worshiping other gods." Gladys was very surprised by this. She had adopted China as her home and had lived there for over 20 years. She asked him how this could be and he replied that he had been reading about England in the Chinese papers. He said that "To them sport, film stars, wealth, amusement - all are far more important than God.” She felt that the LORD wanted her to go back to her birth land, back to England and she did for a time.
These two stories really caught me. Personally, I had to ask myself yet again, what might be more important to me than God. I had to confess, again, that many things in "my" affluent world have distracted me from my True Love. Many good works, passions, ideas, ... all of them meaningless, unless they are first born from a heart committed to and in love with my God in Heaven. And ohhhhh, the beauty of the faith of 500 hundred lamas who waited in China for the good news of the God who loves!!! There are others that are waiting to hear and our real work from the LORD is to "go" and to "preach" this good news. They are waiting for the messengers to come, and we are those messengers. The places that we are to "go" may be in our homes, our cities, our country, or a foreign land ... but may we remember always what our FIRST work is - to tell them about the "God that loved."
Nice clothes, fun entertainment, elaborate meals...goodness, Lord God, forgive me for loving anything more than YOU.