Maria was attending religious meetings in a small Central American country. Night after night she listened intently as the gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed by a dedicated lay preacher. Like winged arrows the shafts of truth sank deep into her heart. She decided there was but one thing to do – she must follow Christ and prepare for baptism.
When Maria told her husband of her conviction and plans, he was furious.
“If you are baptized into that church,” he shouted, “I will kill you!”
Maria had a difficult decision to make. To follow the dictates of her conscience might cost her life. But she finally decided to join the church and trust her future to God’s care, and she was baptised.
When Maria returned from the baptism that Sabbath, her husband was waiting for her at the front door. He was sharpening a nasty-looking machete.
“Didn’t I tell you I would kill you if you were baptized?” he shrilled.
“Yes, dear,” Maria replied quietly, “you told me, and I am ready. I have made everything right with God, and I am ready to die!”
The husband’s jaw dropped. His knife almost slipped from his hand. “You really mean that?” he stammered in unbelief. “Well, if that church can give you such faith and courage, I am going to join, too.” Today Marian and her husband are united in their church fellowship and in their determination to be ready when Jesus comes.
But all such stories do not have happy endings. Helena’s father threatened to shoot her if she insisted on being baptised. The day of her baptism the enraged father followed his daughter to the river where the service was to be held. He had a rifle in his hand.
When her turn came, Helena walked into the water and the pastor lifted his arm and began speaking, “My dear sister, upon your profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to save you from sin, I now baptize you—–“
A shot rang out. Helena collapsed in the water. Another shot, and the pastor fell. By the time friends reached her Helena was dead. The pastor was badly wounded but recovered. Another youthful Christian had surrendered her life for her Lord. In prison a repentant father also found his Savior and, months later, followed his daughter down into the waters of baptism.
“Be thou faithful unto death,” Christ promised, “and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10.
Yes sometimes the cost of joining God’s family is high, but despite the price, thousands are taking the step.
by Robert H Pierson.