The old man was grossly deformed and twisted from the ravages of leprosy…
It was the spring of 1890. As he walked down the plank from the docked ship; he could not help but feel a twinge of uncertainty. He had prepared all his adult life for this moment, and now he was hesitant.
It had been along and stressful voyage traveling from South Carolina to the Hawaiian Island of Molokai and the area of Kalaupapa. This island was to be his new home for the next 40 to 50 years. It was not a place you would want to visit for it housed, actually imprisoned, Lepers. There was no cure for this disease so those infected individuals, both young and old, were quarantined on the island for life.
He found himself surrounded by about 100 total strangers; they were all staring at him. He could see the obvious; their bodies were badly deformed and twisted from the ravages of the disease. You can imagine, he felt very alone, isolated and vulnerable. Many had lost fingers, toes, ears, nose, lips, some were partially blinded, and all were in various stages of the disease.
Since he was healthy, some of the islanders held a certain amount of contempt toward him. They were both jealous and bitter.
He was there to replace the old pastor that had served these people for more than 50 years, and now was returning to the mainland to retire.
It was unfortunate that his arrival was several weeks after the old pastor had left. He never had the opportunity to meet him and to gain firsthand knowledge of the islanders. He would have like to have known more about the old pastors struggles as he presented Christ to these people.
So here he was, alone and in a hostile environment. As he scanned the curious crowd looking for a friendly face, an old man that was deformed and twisted from the ravages of leprosy stepped forward from the group. He introduced himself. He said the old pastor asked him to help the new arrival until he became adjusted to his new home and environment.
This brought a sigh of relief to the new pastor. As they walked to his new residence, which was a simple and plain hut, the pastor asked his new friend to tell him his story and how he became a Christian.
The old man smiled as best he could. It was about 50 years ago when the pastor arrived…he was not greeted with warmth and kindness, but rather suspicion and even hatred for he was not like them; diseased, discouraged and depressed…and even oppressed as prisoners. The pastor was alive, healthy and full of excitement.
The old man said this made him mad; he had no right to come to this island as a healthy person…no right at all!
He came over to me and I spit on him…he came the next day and I cursed him to his face. He came the next day and I physically beat him…he came the next…the next…the next…It took a while but his message about The Savior and His love began to trouble me…eventually what he said made sense. In time, I became a Christian…by now tears were streaming down his cheeks.
The young pastor wide-eyed with amazement gave the old man a hug…then asked him, how long did the process take; going from hate and anger to accepting The Christ? Was it a week or two or perhaps a month?
The old man smiled at the pastor. He said the old pastor came every day, and took the abuse, for…he hesitated as he saw the expression of anticipation on the young pastors face…he came every day for twelve years before I finally accepted the message for salvation (1Cor 15:1-4).
The young pastor was overwhelmed with the thought of the old pastor coming every day; every day for twelve years taking the abuse because he cared…his face showed his astonishment…
Are you praying for someone special, friend, immediate family or relative, and not seeing the results you think you should? God may have a far different timeline than you. Never give up, never feel that God is not listening….Our place is to present our heartfelt needs and desires to God; then trust Him to work it out in His time and in His way. We can rest assured He not only hears us, but just as important He will respond…now that is so very cool!