The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy's thirteenth
birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night
alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe.
But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and
he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity,
dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking
around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter
astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a
bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.
Our Daily Bread.
It was Christmas Eve 1875 and Ira Sankey was traveling on a Delaware River steamboat when he was recognized by some of the
passengers. His picture had been in the newspaper because he was the song leader for
the famous evangelist D.L. Moody. They asked him to sing one of his own hymns, but Sankey
demurred, saying that he preferred to sing William B. Bradbury's humn, "Savior Like a
Shepherd Lead Us." As he sang, one of the stanzas began, "We are Thine; do Thou
befriend us. Be the Guardian of our way."
When he finished, a man stepped from the shadows and asked, "Did you ever serve in the Union Army?"
"Yes," Mr. Sankey answered, "in the spring of 1860."
"Can you remember if you were doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?"
"Yes," Mr. Sankey answered, very much surprised.
"So did I, but I was serving in the Confederate army. When I saw you standing at your post, I thought to
myself, 'That fellow will never get away alive.' I raised my musket and took aim. I was standing in the
shadow, completely concealed, while the full light of the moon was falling upon you. At that instant, just as a moment ago, you raised your eyes to
heaven and began to sing...'Let him sing his song to the end,' I said to myself, 'I can
shot him afterwards. He's my victim at all events, and my bullet cannot miss him.' But the
song you sang then was the song you sang just now. I heard the words perfectly: 'We are
Thine; do Thou befriend us. Be the Guardian of our way.' Those words stirred up many
memories. I began to think of my childhood and my God-fearing mother. She had many times
sung that song to me. When you had finished your song, it was impossible for me to take
aim again. I thought, 'The Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must
surely be great and mighty.' And my arm of its own accord dropped limp at my side."
K. Hughes, Liberating Ministry From The Success
Syndrome, Tyndale, 1988, p. 69.
Lorrie Anderson, missionary to the head-shrinking Candoshi Shapra Indians of Peru, was
looking for a quiet place for her daily time of Bible reading and prayer, so she went down
by the edge of the river. After reading the Bible, she took up her prayer list. Eyes
closed, she did not see the deadly anaconda weaving through the water until it struck,
burying its fangs into her flesh. It withdrew to strike, hitting her arm again and again
as it held her, screaming, in its coils. It reared up for the death blows. Then suddenly
the giant snake, never known to release its prey, relaxed its grip and slithered off
through the water. While Lorrie was being treated, a witch doctor from a nearby village
burst into the hut and stared at her. She couldn't believe Lorrie had survived. She said
her son-in-law, also a witch doctor, had chanted to the spirit of the anaconda that
morning and sent it to kill the young missionary. "I'm certain," Lorrie said,
"that except for the protection of God, it would have worked."
Daily Bread, August 13, 1990.