On October 31, 2017, I posted Part 1 of this article on The Screaming Spark-Part 1. You can read it here if you wish. Since then, I have struggled with Part 2. I got busy with other things and just didn’t get back to it until now. I think there may be a reason for it. I’ll tell you about that later.
Five hundred years ago, in Martin Luther’s day, one of the most potent forces on Earth was the Roman Church. Luther faced significant opposition to his work. He was slated to be executed for his beliefs but escaped with the interdiction of a friend. While he was hidden from the searching eyes of the church, he translated the Bible into German. This act alone was mostly responsible for the unification of most of the many Germanic tribes of the region. They became a powerful nation after that.
The Bible in the language of the people changed more than the geopolitical world. The people were able to learn that their salvation was by grace through faith, and not by their adherence to the rules of a church. Gradually, Luther and others sought to reform the church with their newfound Biblical beliefs. The church literally fought the reformers. Many died in the battles. They spread throughout Europe until a new church rose from the ashes. The Protestant Reformation had begun. One new church was followed by others.
Five hundred years later, the Reformation celebrated its 500th anniversary on November 1, 2017. This world-changing event took place because a young man named Martin Luther followed his convictions and stood for the right. An encounter during a thunderstorm eventually led him to stand before spiritual leaders and demand reform.
Luther’s honesty with himself and others drove him to be faithful to his promise made during the thunderstorm that he would serve God. There was nothing easy about Luther’s life after he surrendered it. But the way God used him is nothing short of miraculous. Martin Luther’s decision did not only change his life. It changed yours. It led to the Protestant Reformation that filled the world with a dramatic change in every part of our lives. Even the Roman church benefitted from some of the changes that occurred.
The work of Luther happened because he allowed the spark of God’s image, which is in every human, to grow into a flame that burned hot and bright in his life. You know you were meant to be and to do something more than what is going on in your life now. The spark within you is screaming out. Respond. “God, you have a plan for me. I surrender to you to build me to be the man (or woman) you want me to be.”
I experienced that growing spark. In Part 1, I told you about an experience during a rocket attack in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 1973. Those times have a way of reminding us that there is a God who cares and can help us. Somehow it also seems to reveal to us our need to surrender to the will of God and ask for time to live it out.
The events may seem mundane as you live them, but God has a plan for the man who will follow Him. For me, my work was right there. Some of the young men I was teaching were Buddhist monks. One was named Lem Someth. I’ll just shorten the story for now. I’ll share other parts in later posts. Someth turned to Creator God and began to serve Him.
I met Someth again seven years later when he led twenty people across Pol Pot’s killing fields to bring them to safety in Thailand. God had arranged for me to be there, directing relief work in the refugee camps. I was the only one who would recognize Someth as he entered the camps. I asked him to walk with his group to a different village nearby and begin to serve as pastor of a bamboo and thatch church built by my predecessor.
In the next few years, I knew Someth taught hundreds of people who had experienced their own lightning strikes and rocket attack experiences. They lived through Pol Pot. It wasn’t until thirty-nine years later that I learned how God had used him. In March 2020, I revisited Cambodia. I found there a nationwide Christian church over 3,500 members strong being led by many people Someth had taught in that camp.
What was my role? Just being where God asked me to be when He said: “Go.”
A nineteenth-century author penned these words about individuals who listen to the screaming spark and respond.
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men–men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”1
Being the man or woman of character God made you to be will undoubtedly be an uphill climb. That’s no problem if you want your life to amount to something. My guess is you don’t care as much about ease as you do about making a difference.
We are commanded to help others ignite their lives.
People may or may not know that the spark is smoldering within them. But it is! You have that spark. Every person living was implanted with the seed of a roaring flame. It is in you. You can’t ignite it. Neither can you, of your own initiative, put it out.
Have you been honest with yourself fulfilling the deal you made with God? Or is He still waiting for permission to activate the potential He placed within you?
In upcoming posts, we’ll explore ways to understand where God may be leading you. Let me know if you have any questions.
1 E. White, Education