A Divine Appointment with a Typical Taiwan Intellect
Recently, I took our visiting friends, Connie and her 14-year-old son Ben to see CKS Memorial park. While walking through the flower garden at the rear end of the park, young Ben asked if we could sit down and rest our legs for a few minutes. As soon as we sat down, a local Chinese man in his early 60′s approached us and initiated a casual, friendly conversation in English. He asked where we were from and we told him “Texas!” He began to share that he went to school in Austin 40 years ago and he exclaimed “Big D!” as soon as I mentioned my hometown. He introduced himself as Ben. Having two Ben’s among us gave us another common link to further our conversation and then before long, we recognized that this was a divine appointment.
Ben wanted to talk about the pending war, President Bush, and the politics between Taiwan and mainland China. As we listened to his expressed opinions, we heard the concerns that we all have, yet his concerns were without hope. We took the opportunity to express that we pray to our God to grant wisdom to our presidents, and mercy for our enemies. Ben referred to the tragedies of World War II, and also the tragic deaths of the many innocent 9/11 victims. We expressed how war has always been a part of history because men have a choice between good and evil. Ben immediately declared, “I am disappointed in your God. He should do something. I do not understand why he shows mercy sometimes and other times he does not. He had no mercy for Lot’s wife in the bible. He turned Lot’s wife into salt for simply turning and looking back. I understand she was disobedient, but her disobedience was no worse than any others.” Immediately, we realized that Ben had been exposed to some bible teaching. I expressed how it sounded like to me that Ben was having trouble reconciling in his mind that God is a merciful God and a just God. Connie, added, that God knew Lot’s wife’s heart and how her turning to look revealed that her heart belonged to the evil ways of the city in which God commanded they flee. Again Ben expressed his disappointment in our God. I expressed how my God is faithful, and he does not disappoint and it seems more like Ben is angry at God because he doesn’t do things the way Ben thinks God should do things. Ben told us he had read the bible and there were lots of stories that he thought God should have responded differently.
We inquired about Ben’s bible exposure and I acknowledged to Ben, “It’s obvious, you have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ”. I asked, “Ben, what keeps you from believing in Jesus?” Ben then sat down on the bench beside me, and responded, “I am not angry. I understand that God is a merciful God.” He then launched into another gory war story in detail how children have suffered while crying out to God and he did not answer. “I am disappointed in your God for allowing such things.” Again, I asked, Ben, “What keeps you from believing in Jesus?” He responded, “I had friends in Oklahoma when I later went to OSU after receiving my education in Texas.” I interjected, “my daughter lives in Oklahoma!” Surprised at another seemingly co-incidence, he then continued. “My friends told me all about God. They took me into their home and treated me like family. They still tell me they pray for me. I know the hymns.” He then began singing, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” I said “Ben, we sang that very hymn at Bible Study this morning.” My awareness of this divine appointment quickened, for I had prayerfully chosen that hymn. (Who else would have known this but my all- knowing God?) He described a particular time that he felt loved one day in church and he began singing again to us, “Only Trust Him, Only Trust Him, Only Trust Him Now.” The preacher within my heart loomed me to my feet. “Ben can’t you see this is a divine appointment? God is saying to you “Ben only trust ME NOW!” Ben, have you ever romanced and wooed a woman?” He nodded. “God has been romancing a wooing you for 40 years and He is saying …” “Today is the day to trust HIM as your personal Savior!” ”
Ben immediately changed the subject. I turned to Connie, and asked, “Did he just change the subject or what?” Connie nodded, and turned to Ben saying “Ben your own intellect is keeping you from believing. We don’t understand everything about God, and we never will; you seem to think you must understand him before you believe. You need only accept him with a child like faith. Ben if you were to die today, wouldn’t you want to go to heaven to be with God?”
The rest of the conversation revealed to us, the spiritual condition of Ben’s heart. His heart is hard, and his eyes are blind to the truth. He then said, “If there is a hell, I want to go to hell and see Satan!”
“Did I hear you right? You would rather go to hell than to heaven? There is a hell, and there is no exit door once you go!” Connie said, “Satan is the one deceiving you!” I added, “Because he is the father of lies.” The next few moments seemed more like a begging argument instead of a conversation, so we quickly sought to close our conversation. Remembering that Ben had told us he had read the bible nearly 3 times. We told him we would pray for him and challenged him to read the gospel of John again.
Sadly, Ben typically represents the majority of people in Taiwan, who have so much head knowledge, yet their intellect keeps them from receiving the truth. This was a divine appointment, yet Ben still would not believe.
Ps 126:5-6 tells us, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. 6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. [NAS] ” I can’t help but think of Ben’s friends back in Oklahoma who planted the seed of the word of God in Ben’s life, and the years of prayers they have labored for his salvation. We pray that one day they will receive a call from Ben to hear him to declare “I trust only HIM, for now I know, what a friend I have in Jesus!”
1 Corinthians 3:7-9 tells us “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. [NAS]” We probably will not know this side of heaven how our watering of those old seeds finally took fruition in Ben’s life. We can only pray. Pray Ben will come to know God, who does not disappoint! (Romans 10:11)