~ Especially for Young People
Sam, Step Forward
Sam was the son of Christian parents, and in early youth, he had given his heart to the Lord. At school he had already experienced that God hears and answers the prayers of His children. This knowledge had taught him never to start the day without prayer to God.
It was a difficult step for him to go from his peaceful home to the rough reality of camp life, but he was no coward. With joyful heart, he fulfilled his duties as a soldier. His friends thought well of him, but gradually their attitude changed because he would not join them in singing worldly songs. Just to listen to their frivolous songs and filthy conversation was very painful to him and caused him to turn to the Lord for strength to remain faithful. His comrades started to tease him, and before long they openly ridiculed him.
Gradually, the number of those who were against him increased. As a Christian, his path became more and more lonely. Eventually this came to the notice of the Captain, who knew Sam as a man above reproach and as one of his best soldiers. It annoyed him to hear the report that he was so religious, and he wanted to liberate him from this.
One beautiful morning when the Captain reviewed his company (and found everything in order), his attention was drawn to Sam. What an example of a soldier! Suddenly, the Captain ordered, "Sam, step forward!" He stood before the Captain, who commanded in the hearing of all, "Sing your favorite song in the presence of the company." Such an unusual command startled him, but he must obey, not his Captain, but also his Savior and Lord. After a silent prayer he began singing:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
The first verse was finished. He was happy in the consciousness of having done what was pleasing before God. "Continue," cried the Captain.
Tho' Satan should buffet,
Tho' trials should come
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin—not in part, but the whole,
Was borne on the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
The Captain remained silent and tears rolled down his cheeks. With joyful heart, gazing heavenward, Sam continued:
And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
"Even so"—it is well with my soul.
Our friend had entirely forgotten where he was. As a victor he stood in the midst of the defeated ones.
"Sam, step back! Would to God, the whole company only sang such songs," the Captain said in a subdued voice. He was deeply touched, for he also knew the hymn and used to sing it himself. The memory of his departed mother came before him now. He seemed to hear her last words of admonition. He knew the way of salvation but had failed to accept it. He could not stand to be ridiculed. In reality, the brave captain had been a coward. Sam, his subordinate, had indeed done better, and what folly to think of delivering him by trying to make him a laughing stock before the whole company. Now the Captain was the defeated one and was not ashamed of his tears. He decided that this day must be the turning point in his life.
The whole company had seen the tears of their Captain, and not one was seen laughing. The hymn Sam had sung had touched all and stirred them deeply. From that day on, there was a marked change in the esteem of his comrades, and God blessed his faithfulness in testifying for the Lord Jesus. There was no more scorn or derision for our friend, and rarely was there any singing heard in which he could not join. By his decided testimony for his Lord and Savior, he became a guide to salvation for many of his comrades.
How is it with you, dear unsaved young person? Are you going on without Christ because you do not have courage to receive Him into your life and make a definite stand for Him? Is it not true that deep down in your heart you know you are not right with God and that you need Christ as your Savior, but you are ashamed to take a stand for Him before your fellowmen? An endless eternity is before you in Heaven or hell, and it depends upon your decision which one it will be. If you will receive Christ, it will be Heaven. On the other hand, if you go on, too cowardly to take a stand for Him, it will be hell.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
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