In a recent issue of the Latin American Crier my name was mentioned as one that suffered for Christ. I WONDER. There is a passage that when I read it I always have an uneasy feeling. Here is the passage: "After these things I saw, and behold a great multitude which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb with palms in their hands...and one of the elders answered, saying unto me, These that are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and whence came they? And I say unto him, My Lord, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they that come out of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9-14). Can I say that I have come out of the great tribulation? Yes, I may have suffered a LITTLE, but this says that those who stand before God have come out of the GREAT TRIBULATION.
True, as a young preacher in Montana more than 60 years ago some men told me that if I baptized a certain woman that I would never get out of the water alive. Yes, I was scared but I told them that if she desired to be baptized that I would baptize her and told them the place where she would be baptized. The poor woman, they frightened her to the place that she said to me that she would be baptized later. Long since she has gone to her reward. She never obeyed the gospel. So SAD. Then there was one time that on a bitter day in the winter I took five young men with me and went to Lambton for the Sunday service. It was so stormy most of the brethren did not get there. The Collection was 40 cents. On the way home the gas line froze up. We shoved the car the last mile. Holding my hands against the back of that car in that cold cut off the circulation and when I got into the heat the pain in my hands was almost unbearable.
We might tell a few more things in America but we shall turn to India. I went to Mondapeta from Kakinada. It was 33 hours from the time I left Kakinada until I was back in Kakinada. In that time I had preached 9 sermons. There had been 101 baptized. I came home at 2 a.m. I was so tired that I could hardly crawl into bed. A few hours of sleep did not seem to rest me. I told the sister in the morning when I came downstairs, I think I am going to die. Then there was the time that I said that if we could get the Indians to meet on time that we could have five meetings in a day. A brother assured me that we could have SIX meetings. We came in at ten in the evening. I don't know how he did it but this brother got the people to assemble in six villages for services that day. We rode in the jeep. It was hot and it was dusty. I WAS SO TIRED that I never suggested to this brother that he arrange that many meetings in one day again.
Let me tell you about the time when I probably suffered more than any one time. A brother told me that a certain Hindu village wanted to become Christians and wanted me to accompany him to this village. I told him that I would be very glad to do this. It was a hot day. We drove as far as the hard-top lasted. We drove as far as the gravel lasted. Then we came to a dirt road. I do not need to tell you that I had driven tens of thousands of miles on dirt roads in the early days in Saskatchewan. There was a problem though. It had rained for hours just before we got to this road. It was impossible even for an ox cart. WE WALKED for eight miles. These villagers had painted a crude cross on a piece of cloth and put it on the longest pole they could find and erected it in the village to advertise that they were going to become Christians. I preached a sermon. There were some 22 or 23 people that expressed a desire to be baptized. They were baptized.
Then, as it was Sunday, we had the Lord's Supper. Then they suggested that we have some food. We ate and then just as we started out the sun went down. It is one thing to walk in the mud in daylight. It was another thing to walk in the dark. I had gone about one mile when I had trouble with one leg. In the dark we met a shepherd with his goats. We bought his shepherd's staff. I used that for a cane and while I was in pain we continued our journey. About one mile from our destination, my other leg became very painful. DID YOU EVER TRY LIMPING ON BOTH LEGS AT ONE TIME? I remembered that Paul said that we were to REJOICE in our sufferings (Col. 1:24). I remembered that Job said one time that he would like to argue with God, I can bear this, but was it not too much for you to say I should REJOICE in it?
I can rejoice in it now. When that tidal wave struck in India in 1977, that village was in the path of that terrible destructive force. It is a wonder that a few lived and not that many perished that were members of the body. I visited there after the disaster and thanked God I had taken the gospel to that village.
I know that Paul said that we as evangelists were to suffer hardships (II Tim. 4:5). Will what I have suffered compare with the three preachers in the Phillipines who went on preaching all during World War II? They knew that any morning they could have been shot as American spies. Not only think of these men but think of their wives. When they went out to preach, the wives never knew if they would come back. When they came back, the wives never knew at what hour of the night the military police might come and take them away. I have never suffered as they suffered.
Let us turn to India: a young couple were married in India. Shortly after they were married and she became a Christian, her husband was furious. First he tried to coax her to come back to Hinduism. This did not work. Then he threatened her. When she still would not renounce her faith in Christ Jesus, he poured kerosene over her and burned her to death. Then there is the story that reads like a story. It is a story but a TRUE one. When this woman obeyed the gospel her husband tried to burn her to death. He did not succeed but she has terrible scars. He was converted to Christ the next year and then shortly after that he died in Christ.
We have heard a great deal about the Sikhs in India these days, but there was one Sikh that obeyed the gospel. His own brother beat him cruelly but he refused to renounce his faith in Christ. He is faithfully preaching the gospel in North India today.
I shall tell of the young preacher in Africa who was captured by so-called Freedom Fighters. They told him that he had to take a drink of liquor. He told them he was a Christian, and that he did not drink. They told him that if he did not take a drink, they would shoot him. He refused to take the drink and THEY SHOT HIM.
I could turn back to what is personal again. I left for a meeting after I had filled up my gas tank with gas that was charged. I had two dollars. I left my wife home with seven children and half of the money. During this trip some young people were baptized who are faithful members of the church today.
I preached all during the Thirties. The children never went to bed hungry nor did they ever miss school for lack of clothes. They had a good bed to sleep on. My wife made mattresses. She made shoes. Part of the time we milked our own cow. We grew our own potatoes, etc. I have tried to remember and believe I Timothy 6:7,8. "For we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; but having food and covering we shall be therewith content." I have four tailor made suits. Indian brethren had three of them made for me. I have a good car but one of my sons gave it to me.
We have lived below what the government says is the Poverty Line most of our lives. We have had no money for tobacco, liquor, movies or extended holidays but what the Lord has promised He has provided. I might add my wife has never used any money for MAKE-UP either. I still feel short of the requirements of the GREAT TRIBULATION. I have the assurance that His grace will be sufficient. May I with Paul say: "for which cause I suffer these things, yet I am not ashamed, for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day" (II Tim. 1:12).
J.C. Bailey (1985, Bengough, Saskatchewan)
Published in The Old Paths Archive