Posts Tagged ‘testimony’

Modern Day JOB

“I HAVE NEVER KNOWN a man in my life who so closely approximates the experiences of Job as George Samuel. What this man has accomplished for God defies explanation.”

So said H.I. founder, Dr. John Edmund Haggai, during the 2003 annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

“He has been a blessing to me personally. He has so far trained over 7,500 leaders who are working throughout the subcontinent [of India]. That is larger than any Western mission force in history.”

Dr. George Samuel epitomizes the vision, purpose, and strategy of Haggai Institute. Trained as a nuclear scientist, he is a leader in the field of nuclear medicine. He is well educated, widely traveled, and highly respected. George has published several books and given many lectures to the scientific community. In addition, he is a man of God. A man of unswerving faith. A man of action. This is his story.

“I was 15 years old when I committed my life to Christ. When the boy placed the five loaves and two fishes in the hands of Jesus, he did not realize at the time that he was placing them in the wonder-working hands of Jesus. In the same way I, too, did not realize fully what would follow, but later on, I began to experience the wonder-working hands of our Lord.

“When I was 27, the Lord gave me a vision for the lost. I remember the verse from Acts 20:24 through which the Lord spoke to me, ‘But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God.'”

The following year, when George’s parents chose his wife, he shared that verse with her just before they finalized the ceremony. She agreed with that, so it was easy for the young couple to make a decision to serve Christ together. Whereas he had been using office hours for nuclear medicine and off-hours for preaching the Gospel, they now reversed that, and it worked out very well. His passport as a scientist opened many doors of opportunity.

George and Elizabeth knew tremendous tragedy throughout their marriage. Three of their four children suffered cystic fibrosis. One of the boys, Sherry, died in early infancy, and the other two required constant care.

George relates his son Johny’s feelings of faith in Jesus despite his serious health struggles, “My hands are feeble, but God’s hands are able. I place my feeble hands into God’s able hands. Many times, we went through life and death experiences, but through each one, even though it was the end of the rope, it was not the end of hope.”

Johny asked his dad to write thoughts in his diary for him as they occurred. One entry reads, “The empty tomb is the birthplace of eternal certainty.”

This certainty in Jesus and His love for them carried the family through the most unimaginable pain. Johny wrote in his second book, Precious Thoughts for Better Living, “What happen to us is not as important as what happens through us.”

Perhaps Johny learned this lesson through his mother, Elizabeth. Her certainty of their family’s calling to follow the Lord is evident as she encouraged George continually, “You go on to your seminar and do not call and worry about home. We will be fine. You go with peace of heart.” Elizabeth went to her Heavenly home in 1998 after suffering from poliomyelitis.

As tragic as Elizabeth’s passing was, George had more tragedy and testing ahead of him. Ronnie slipped into a coma and died after life support was disconnected. Johny, the courageous young man who defied the odds for so long, died peacefully in his sleep a few years later.

Johny used to say, “I am a student of the University of Tribulations. Here I learn how to pray in a meaningful way. I will graduate only when it’s time to go to Heaven.” He had reached commencement.

Dr. Samuel’s family now consisted of his only daughter, Annie, and her husband Manoj. George reaffirms the whole foundation of his life and his strength.

“I praise God that despite challenges and grief and struggles, we have the certainty of hope. My mother died just three months after I lost my wife, Elizabeth. Only 79 days later, my father also went to his eternal rest. As if this wasn’t enough, three months later, my son Ronnie died, and then Johny. And repeatedly I was personally able to celebrate the certainty of our hope in Jesus. Because of the certainty, I am able to set the priorities for today and look forward to tomorrow.”

And like Job of the Old Testament, George Samuel continues to trust God regardless of circumstances.

A Slave To His Destiny

One morning a sixteen-year-old boy was kidnapped from his house by a
band of knife-wielding thugs and taken to another country, there to be
sold as a slave. The year was 401 A.D.

He was made a shepherd. Slaves were not allowed to wear clothes, so he
was often dangerously cold and frequently on the verge of starvation.
He spent months at a time without seeing another human being, a severe
psychological torture.

But this greatest of difficulties was transformed into the greatest of
blessings because it gave him an opportunity not many get in a
lifetime. Long lengths of solitude have been used by people all
through history to meditate, to learn to control the mind, and to
explore the depths of feeling and thought to a degree impossible in
the hubbub of normal life.

He wasn’t looking for such an ‘opportunity’, but he got it anyway. He
had never been a religious person, but to hold himself together and
take his mind off the pain, he began to pray, so much that "…in one
day", he wrote later, "I would say as many as a hundred prayers and
after dark nearly as many again…I would wake and pray before
daybreak, through snow, frost, and rain…"

This young man, at the onset of his manhood, got a ‘raw deal’. But
therein lies the lesson. Nobody gets a perfect life. The question is
not "What could I have done if I’d gotten a better life?" but rather
"What can I do with the life I’ve got?"

How can you take your personality, your circumstances, your
upbringing, the time and place you live in, and make something
extraordinary out of it? What can you do with what you’ve got?

The young slave prayed. He didn’t have much else available to do, so
he did what he could with all his might. And after six years of
praying, he heard a voice in his sleep say that his prayers would be
answered: He was going home. He sat bolt upright and the voice said,
"Look, your ship is ready".

He was a long way from the ocean, but he started walking. After two
hundred miles, he came to the ocean and there was a ship, preparing to
leave for Britain, his homeland. Somehow he got aboard the ship and
went home to reunite with his family.

But he had changed. The sixteen-year-old boy had become a holy man. He
had visions. He heard the voices of the people from the island he had
left, Ireland, calling him back. The voices were persistent, and he
eventually left his family to become ordained as a priest and a bishop
with the intention of returning to Ireland and converting the Irish to

At the time, the Irish were fierce, illiterate, Iron-Age people. For
over eleven hundred years, the Roman Empire had been spreading its
civilizing influence from Africa to Britain, but Rome never conquered

The people of Ireland waged war constantly. They made human sacrifices
of prisoners of war and sacrificed newborns to the gods of the
harvest. They hung the skulls of their enemies on their belts as

Our slave-boy-turned-bishop decided to make these people literate and
peaceful. Braving dangers and obstacles of tremendous magnitude, he
actually succeeded! By the end of his life, Ireland was Christian.
Slavery had ceased entirely. Wars were much less frequent, and
literacy was spreading.

How did he do it? He began by teaching people to read, starting with
the Bible. Students eventually became teachers, and went to other
parts of the island to create new places of learning, and wherever
they went, they brought the know-how to turn sheepskin into paper and
paper into books.

Copying books became the major religious activity of that country. The
Irish had a long-standing love of words, and it expressed itself to
the full when they became literate. Monks spent their lives copying
books: the Bible, the lives of saints, and the works accumulated by
the Roman culture, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew books, grammars, the works
of Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Homer, Greek philosophy, math, geometry,

In fact, because so many books were being copied, they were saved,
because as Ireland was being civilized, the Roman Empire was
crumbling. Libraries disappeared in Europe. Books were no longer
copied (except in the city of Rome itself), and children were no
longer taught to read. The civilization that had been built up over
eleven centuries disintegrated. This was the beginning of the Dark Ages.

Because our slave-boy-turned-bishop transformed his suffering into a
mission, civilization itself, in the form of literature and the
accumulated knowledge contained in that literature, was saved and not
lost during that time of darkness. He was named a saint, he is the
famous Saint Patrick. You can read the full and fascinating story if
you like in the excellent book "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by
Thomas Cahill.

"Very interesting", you might say, "but what does that have to do with

Well… you are also in some circumstances or other, and it’s not all
peaches and cream, is it? There’s some stuff you don’t like, maybe
something about your circumstances, perhaps, or maybe some events that
occurred in your childhood.

But here you are, with that past, with these circumstances, with the
things you consider less than ideal. What are you going to do with
them? If those circumstances have made you uniquely qualified for some
contribution, what would it be?

You may not know the answer to that question right now, but keep in
mind that the circumstances you think only spell misery may contain
the seeds of something profoundly Good. Assume that’s true, and the
assumption will begin to gather evidence until your misery is
transformed, as Patrick’s suffering was, from a raw deal to the
perfect preparation for something better.

Ask yourself and keep asking, "Given my upbringing and circumstances,
what Good am I especially qualified to do?"