A miracle of love



Thomas loved the Lord, and he loved people. His neighbor across the path not only hated God, he hated everyone who loved him, including Thomas. This man was so full of hatred that one night he sneaked over to Thomas' hut and set fire to its thatched roof. Fortunately, Thomas discovered the fire in time to put it out and save his children.

That did not discourage this hateful neighbor, however, and the next two nights he tried again to burn Thomas' hut. Again Thomas was able to put out the fire in time. Even though Thomas knew who was doing this to him, he continued to treat his neighbor with love and respect. This only seemed to increase the man's hatred.

One night he came creeping over the path again for another try at burning Thomas' house. It was windy that night, and before Thomas could extinguish the fire, the wind carried some sparks over to the roof of the neighbor's hut.

As soon as Thomas had managed to put out the fire on his own roof, he rushed across the path to help his neighbor. Together they were able to save the house, but Thomas' hands and arms were severely burned. Other neighbors went and told the chief the story, and the chief put Thomas's neighbor in prison.

The next evening, Thomas went as usual to his church. The visiting speaker was Corrie ten Boom, an elderly Dutch lady who had been imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II. She noticed Thomas' burned hands and asked him what had happened.

When she heard his story, she said, "It's a good thing your neighbor is in prison. Now, you won't have to worry about what may happen to your children and your house."

"That's true," said Thomas, "but I feel sorry for him. He's a gifted person, and now he is shut up in that awful prison with all those criminals."

''They, let's pray for him," suggested Corrie.

Thomas knelt, raised his burned hands to Cod and said, ''Lord, I wish that this man would become one of your children. Lord, I pray for his release and for a miracle in his heart. I pray that we will become brothers in Christ and will be able to preach to our tribe together. Amen."

Corrie thought, "Never before have I heard a prayer like that one!"

Two days later, she visited the prison and spoke to the inmates. Thomas' neighbor was among them, listening attentively. At the end of her talk, Corrie asked whether anyone wished to become a Christian. Thomas' neighbor was the first to raise his hand.

After the meeting she told him about Thomas' injuries and about the prayer he had prayed. Tears came to the man's eyes. He nodded his head and said, "Yes, one day we'll do that together-preach to our tribe."

When Corrie told Thomas the news, he praised God and said, "You see. God has performed a miracle! Nothing is too hard for him."


From: They loved their enemies by Marian Hostetler, pag. 87-89, 1988, Herald Press,  Scottdale, Pa, USA.