This God, is our God!
The following experience that took place in Japan about 100 years ago shows us what a wonderful God we have. This God, is our God. He has not changed. He is waiting for those who step out in dependence and faith trusting in His great faithfulness. Those who put their trust in Him will not be ashamed!:
An oft-quoted saying of Charles Cowman’s was, “Either do not attempt things at all or go through with them,” and the Tibetan proverb, “The foot of the ladder is a poor place to sit down.” When he was convinced that God was in the lead, nothing in the way of trial or delay was ever able to shake his faith, and he marched on trusting. He began to plan for the erection of a large Bible Training Institute, through the Lord’s command, “Arise and build,” and at once he committed himself to the project and built an institution that is leaving its impress upon the entire Orient.
Not one dollar was in sight when he began the search for a suitable location. Small tracts of land were available, but every time an attempt was made for the purchase of one, something trivial occurred that would completely block the way. A prayerful search was continued, until one day, Charles Cowman, accompanied by Brother Kilbourne and several others, took a trip to the suburbs of the great city of Tokyo, where they found a field of waving grain. The air was soft and balmy. Mt. Fuji with her snow-crowned summit lay just beyond, and from the slight elevation, miles and miles of country could be seen. It was “beautiful for situation.”
The choice was made, which later proved without a shadow of a doubt that it was God’s own choice. Funds for its purchase came in answer to believing prayer; no great amounts, but small gifts from many saints scattered far and near. Neither of God’s chosen instruments for this stupendous work knew how or whence the silver or gold would come, but both were content to trust Him who said, “Shall I bring to the birth, and shall I not cause to come forth?”
Plans were made for plain but substantial frame buildings. Charles Cowman’s ideas ran along the line of the early Quakers who believed in plain meeting-houses and not in lavish expenditure of money which might be more wisely used in God’s service in other ways. Not without tests of faith were these buildings erected. When God saw that tests were necessary for the development of faith, He lovingly sent them, proving the Word, “He shewed Himself alive,” the invisible Head of the work.
It required a great step of faith, involving thousands of dollars. God had tenderly led him along through the first three years, giving him faith to step out quite alone for the support of himself and wife, for the opening of the mission, for the support of students and native workers, and now for the new buildings. The wonderful answers to prayer received thus far, nerved him for fresh ventures of faith. God’s special help had always come in the hour of deepest need. He was highly privileged in learning these valuable lessons for they brought God into everything pertaining to his life and work, and no detail was ever overlooked by Him.
He related the following incident to a very close friend some months later. It gives the reader a glimpse of a trial and its outcome when the buildings were being erected. “The third payment of the building, $2000.00 (£400), was due in three days and there was but $72.00 (£14) in the Mission treasury. This was barely sufficient to cover the cost of the food supply needed for our large family of workers and students. The day before the payment was due, a steamer arrived from America. The foreign post usually brought a number of letters containing gifts, but this time only one letter was received and in it was a $5.00 bill (£1 note).
The workmen were busy erecting the building, while the missionaries and native workers were closeted with God. We were at our ‘Wits’ End’ but thank God not at ‘Faith’s End,’ for faith generally begins just at such tight corners. Our last hope of receiving help from America seemed to be gone, but as we continued in prayer, the burden upon our hearts made a hasty exit, as the promises of God rolled in until our mouths were literally filled with laughter. It seemed that God had enabled us to lay hold of His promises. In the course of prayer one of those present was led to remind the Lord that on one occasion He had met the need of one of His own by means of a coin in a fish’s mouth. We continued to pray, "Lord Jesus, Thou hast still fish at Thy disposal. Thou canst supply our need in this way just now, for Thou art still the same."
Another quoted Mark 11:24, “And shall not doubt in his heart, he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Thus for several hours, one after another mounted up in faith until at the end of two hours there was a perfect blend, and prayer ended in praising. All watched, waited, and wondered how God was going to get to us the $2000 (£400) before noon on the following day. Faith burned brightly in every heart. A definite request had been registered in Heaven. Faith claimed the great gift from God, and what was the result? Faith honors God and God honors faith. The clinging hand of His child makes a desperate situation a delight to Him.
The next morning dawned bright and clear and the army of native workers were on hand early, singing as they worked, for this was their pay day. Nine o’clock came, then ten, still no answer. The noon hour arrived and the simple dinner was served. One quoted the Word in Exodus 6:1, “Now thou shalt see what I shall do.” Each one present quoted some encouraging promise, and faith held fast. At five o’clock, just about the time for the workmen to quit their work, a messenger boy strolled up the walk shouting out, ‘Dempo, dempo,’—‘Cablegram, cablegram.’ What did the little band of missionaries do? They stopped their work to listen to the message, which read as follows: ‘Two thousand dollars at cable office.’ The donor was quite unknown to us.
“And Jesus Himself drew near.” Tears were mingled with shouts of victory. God had not forgotten to be gracious. The little company fell upon their knees praising Him from the depths of their hearts for not permitting them to become a reproach among the heathen.
Who timed this to arrive just at the critical moment? Coincidence? The word is too long and the calculation on the basis of probabilities too difficult. God! This is simple and satisfying. “How unsearchable are His ways!” The feeling of His hand upon us gave great peace and rest, and such experiences were worth all that they cost.
Our Lord always goes before us. Everything is foreseen and taken into account by Him. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and He has made ample provision for the day of our testing.
“Say not, my soul, From whence can God relieve my care?
Remember that Omnipotence hath servants everywhere;
His method is sublime, His thoughts supremely kind,
God never is before His Time,
And never is behind.”