Believe It!?

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 3
I was a British army officer. When retirement came, I settled on an estate near the city where I was married. With more free time, I began to think about my past and present life. I began to realize that I had never really lived up to my convictions.
One summer evening while walking in the fields with my wife I saw that some of my sheep had broken out from the pasture. Calling to one of the men, I ran toward the gap to help in heading them back. I was proud of my flock, having spent considerable money to get the very best of their breed.
One of the sheep escaped us again and again. The evening was warm, and I was soon overheated by my exertions. Angrily I said to the sheep, "I wish you were dead!"
Presently, as though struck by some unseen hand, that sheep fell. I left the man to deal with it, and walked away. I had scarcely reached the house when a message came that the sheep was dead, and to ask what was to be done with it.
"Take it away," I said, "And never let me hear of it again."
It was as if God Himself had spoken to me. I was conscience-stricken, and I felt that I should have been the victim and not the poor dumb animal. I made good resolutions to better myself. I soon broke them. I made new and stronger ones. It was worse. I resolved to make no more. I was like a man in a boat pulling against the stream, growing weary and taking in the oars. I lost ground and was drifting out to sea.
At last someone spoke to me about God's love, and I seemed to have a dawn of returning hope. I asked him if he thought there might be hope or help for me.
"That," he said, "depends upon yourself, whether you believe God's Word or not."
"Oh," I replied, "that's the anchor of my soul. I do believe God's Word."
"Let me try you. Your very interesting story supplies me with a verse: All we like sheep have gone astray."
"Yes, I believe that. I know it."
"We have turned every one to his own way."
"That is just what I have been doing," I said, "and so long that I cannot change it."
Then he said, "We will go on. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. And that?"
"Oh, but—."
"There was no 'but' to the other passages."
"Well, if—."
"Nor 'if'! If you do not believe that, then you do not believe the whole Bible. If you do believe it, where is your sin?"
"Is that faith?" I asked.
"Faith," he replied, "is just believing what God says."
I did believe it; I do believe it, and the peace and joy I have found in believing it have been my comfort ever since.
I have learned, and love to tell others, how love had its first beginning in the heart of God, and how when we were all without strength, sinners, enemies of God and unbelieving, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us, to bear our iniquity and to suffer in our place. Believing and receiving, we are saved. It is as simple as that!