From Persecutor to Repentant Christian
By Boaz Wadel
Everybody thought he was dead. He simply had to be dead. Nobody could have survived the blast of the bomb that the Colombian army had detonated. Both soldiers and his illegally-armed comrades knew that no human could have survived such a cataclysmic attack. Surely the explosion had blown apart his body, for no one had found any trace of his human remains.
This seemed to be great news for the church. For many years this man had devoted his life as an illegal armed fighter to persecuting Christians. He hated church leaders in particular. He believed they forced ignorant, trusting people to follow false ideologies. And he believed that Christians were military allies of the Colombian army.
Believing them to be his enemies, he had spent years doing everything in his power to stop the church; sending infiltrators to spy on Christian meetings, ordering church closures and threatening pastors throughout the huge area of Colombia long dominated by these rebels.
But he did not die in the explosion; the army's bomb shot him 300 meters like a human cannonball. He miraculously survived both the blast and the fall.
A married Christian couple found the injured fighter. They took him into their home and treated his wounds, caring for him throughout his recovery. They also gave him a Bible. In this couple's simple farmhouse, he learned about the love of the Lord. Weeks later, he decided to change his allegiance and follow Christ.
No longer interested in making war, this former persecutor found a better way. He also understood the rare opportunity he had to start afresh and create a new identity. Both sides believed he was dead; he could move abroad and build a new brand life.
But the gospel had changed his heart. Instead of fleeing, he has chosen to make amends; visiting those whom he had previously persecuted... asking for forgiveness.
Father, we stand in awe as Your Spirit uses the Bible in ordinary ways to draw men and women to Yourself, all of us far from You in rebellion to Christ's Kingdom. But even more so, we are awe-struck when You use extraordinary ways to draw modern day Paul's into saving faith. Thank You for the faith You have placed in the heart of this man who was in rebellion both to the government of Colombia and to Your church. Continue to grant him the courage and faith as he seeks to make amends with Your people. Grant him direction as he seeks new ways to serve You in Colombia. Use him as a mighty warrior in Christ's Kingdom, not with guns and mortar, but with the Word of God. In the name of Jesus who is building His church with both ordinary and exceptional means. Amen