Can the Bible, taken to heart, change a man’s life? Absolutely … and the concept is best illustrated by an event related by Ravi Zacharias in his book, Deliver Us From Evil.
In a visit to Vietnam in 1971, Ravi met an energetic young Christian by the name of Hien Pham. Hien Pham was at the time working as translator for the American military and visiting American missionaries. When Vietnam fell to the communists, Zacharias lost all contact with his friend.
And then, in 1988, Ravi Zacharias received a surprise telephone call – from Hien Pham. The story of how he survived the communist takeover and made his escape to the United States is a story of God’s grace – and the power of God’s Word.
“Shortly after Vietnam fell to the Communists, Hien was arrested. Accused of aiding and abetting the Americans he was in and out of prison for several years. … He was cut off from reading anything in English and restricted to communist propaganda. … This daily overdose of the writings of Marx and Engels began to take its toll on him. … Hien began to buckle under the onslaught. Maybe, he though I have been lied to. Maybe God does not exist.”
“The more he thought, the more he moved toward a decision. Finally, he made up his mind. He determined that when he awakened the next day, he would not pray anymore or ever think of his Christian faith again. … The next morning, he was assigned to clean the latrines of the prison.”
“As he cleaned out a tin can filled to overflowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what he thought was English printed on one piece of paper. He hurriedly washed it off and slipped it into his hip pocket. … Under his mosquito net that night … he pulled out a small flashlight and shining it on the damp piece of paper he read at the top corner, “Romans, Chapter 8.” Literally trembling with shock, he began to read: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ … Hien wept. … He cried out to God, asking for forgiveness, for this was to have been the first day in years that he determined not to pray.”
“The next day, Hien asked the camp commander if he could clean the latrine again. He continued with this chore on a regular basis, because he had discovered that some official in the camp was using a Bible as toilet paper. Each day Hien picked up a portion of Scripture, cleaned it off, and added it to his nightly devotional reading” (p. 192-193).
The Bible was for one person but a piece of refuse to be used and discarded; for another, it became the source of life. Same book … but a life-impacting difference in attitude.
And that is the challenge you face. You can ignore it … or you can tear it apart … or you can find in its pages a perspective that will revolutionize your life. By virtue of reading this article, the issue has now been brought to a head. You must choose … and the choice you make will impact you not only in the here and now, but, indeed, for all of eternity!