“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”
~ Walter Scott ~
Christians in India told me to do something I did not want to do, “Go to Bible school.”
“Why?” I countered.
“You need discipline.” That settle it for me. No Bible School.
It had been 4 months since I’d met Jesus, which in my estimation, was ample time for Jesus to work out all the snags he may have encountered in me. I decided it was to my benefit not to comment on the subject further. Unable to renew my visa for India a third time, I had to leave. Bible School was not on my agenda, I needed a paying job to buy a ticket back to India.
That summer, 1975, I couldn’t get a job. Not even dipping ice cream. At the end of a uselessly spent summer, I applied to the Bible School in Canada which had been suggested, just in case it really was God’s plan for me. I applied late, but was sent a form and on the form, I lied, because I didn’t want to go.
The last page ended with a few questions: Do you dance? Do you drink? Do you smoke? Do you gamble? These questions went on and on, quite needlessly. So, I just wrote “yes” on all of them. The last thing they asked was, “Do you have any comments?” I said, “Yes. I disagree with your rules. But if you let me attend, I’ll abide by them.” Well, you know what happened? I received a telegram, “COME IMMEDIATELY YOU ARE ACCEPTED ON PROBATION” Afraid that God might have something to do with this, I went. Lying was probably not the best way to enter Bible School; nor was I really able to uphold my promise to “abide by the rules” —but I tried, at least to some extent.
I can’t actually think of any negative result from those lies. We shouldn’t lie. But, honestly, it did me a lot of good. I thought I’d dupped the school staff, but I’m now quite sure it was the other way around. They saw right through me. Bible school studies were hard… Ezekiel?!! I nearly failed. But somehow, I made it through the year and was only called into the dean’s office a few times.
At the end of the year, pressure came from students and staff to continue studying (it was a 4-year program). I loved soaking in the Word of God… nearly like living in heaven, but I’d left my heart in India. I longed to have all those little children around me again. I loved the culture and I loved learning Hindi. I was torn and didn’t know what to do.
The end of every year meant a graduating class; thus, an end of year assembly with special speakers. That year, one of the speakers was Helen Roseveare. Her story was unbelievable and quite horrific; but she was the most amazing part of her story. I had a horrific story in my past; but was I an amazing part of my story? All because of the lies I told on my form, and the staff’s hope to reform me at Bible school, I had the privilege of hearing this humble woman.
Helen served in DR Congo during the rebellion of 1964. She was a doctor and ran a hospital among her many other duties. When the rebels attacked, many were murdered and many were captured, herself included. She was badly beaten and raped numerous times over long months of captivity. Helen was so badly abused, others in captivity tried to protect her. She witnessed many horrors, but many miracles happened as well. I won’t attempt to tell her story, but she was rescued and returned to her country, England. When the horror of being beaten and raped happened, she asked God, “Is it really worth all this? The price is too high!” She told God more than once. Finally, she heard God answer; “Change the question. Am I worth it?” A few months later, of her own desire; she returned to the Congo, to her people, to serve again. The story she so honestly shared mesmerized me.
After the assembly, anyone who wished to speak with her was allowed a time slot to do so. I immediately signed up. I was guided into a small room behind the main assembly hall. She smiled as I walked in and motioned me to sit down on a chair facing her. A small table was between us. I can’t remember the whole conversation, but I explained to her that I met Christ in India. I shared my desire to return but also felt under pressure to stay and study more. I simply asked her what she thought. It was then, I saw the rascal and rebel in her own eyes as she leaned over the table toward me, and barely whispered; “I never went to Bible School!”
I liked her even more. The twinkle in her eyes, made me realize, Bible school can be wonderful, but it is not included on a universal plan for mankind. I then realized that God was taking me back to India, the place where I wanted to be. It was in my plan and God’s. Bible School was an added benefit, and maybe I learned some discipline.
(Don’t misunderstand; lies may, but don’t usually lead to wonderful things; I’m not suggesting that telling lies is okay.)