The Power of a BibleCarlos’s story reminds me that there are people who need the hope found in God’s Word. If we pray and ask Him to show us, I’m confident He will.
When Carlos Gomez was 16 years old, a man climbed four flights of stairs to the apartment where he and his mother lived and knocked on the door. When she opened it, he handed her a Bible.
“This is a gift for you,” he said, and then he was gone.
At the time, Spain was ruled by Francisco Franco, a Communist dictator who forbade all but a few token churches. Bibles were outlawed. Even the Catholic priests didn’t have them.
But now Carlos’s mother did.
Curious, she began to read. And something happened.
“She came alive inside,” Carlos said. “And then she began to pray for me. I’d hear her at night in the small bedroom we shared, when I pretended to be asleep.”
“Lord, open his eyes. Make the Bible real to him, too.”
Carlos resisted his mother’s urgings to read the Bible for himself, but he couldn’t deny the transformation taking place in her life. “One night after she’d gone to bed, I picked up her Bible. I read it all night long. When morning came and my mother awoke, I was still reading.”
She knew her prayers had been answered.
Carlos repented of his sin and surrendered his life to Christ. He’s been serving Him for 47 years.
The prophet Isaiah had an encounter much like Carlos’s, only instead of discovering God through his Word, he saw God in a vision. Isaiah 6:1 record’s his experience:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.”
Face to face with the holy and righteous God of the universe, Isaiah became excruciatingly aware of his own sinfulness. Seraphim circled the throne crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,” yet a different refrain played in Isaiah’s mind. Wretched, sinful and lost is the man, Isaiah.
“Woe is me, for I am undone!” he cried. “I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.”
His heartfelt confession and genuine repentance unlocked the door to God’s forgiveness. In a scene that foreshadowed Christ’s sacrificial death, an angel took a coal from the altar and applied it to Isaiah’s lips.
“Your iniquity is taken away,” he announced. “Your sin purged.”
Immediately, God called him into service. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?”
“Here am I,” Isaiah said. “Send me.”
God doesn’t save us simply to add another soul to the heavenly role. He saves us to share the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Isaiah accepted the call. So did Carlos.
In the months following Carlos and his mother’s conversion, they wondered how many of their neighbors had also received Bibles from the mysterious stranger. One by one, they quizzed those who lived in their building. They described the man and asked if he had also knocked on their door. No one but Carlos’s mother had received a visit or a Bible.
To date, Carlos and his family have planted six evangelical churches in Spain and have teamed up with locals to start 17 more. In a country of 47 million people, only 1% of the population identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. Carlos’s goal, in partnership with Equip International, is to start churches in towns where there are no believers. His teams survey the population to discover their needs, share the gospel, and, of course, hand out Bibles.
Isaiah took God’s message to his countrymen. Carlos is doing the same. His life is a testimony of the power of God’s Word to transform a person, a family, and even a nation. This is Carlos’s hope for Spain. This is his hope for the world.
This is God’s hope too.
Hearing Carlos’s story reminds me that there are people all around us who need the hope found in God’s Word. What are we doing about it? Who might God be calling us to share our faith with? If we pray and ask Him to show us, I’m confident He will.
When He does, may we say like Isaiah and Carlos, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”
Lori Hatcher is the author of the book and blog, “Hungry for God…Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women” (LoriHatcher.com). Her latest book, “Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible” released May 5. She and her pastor husband live in Lexington, South Carolina.