And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. Ruth 3:11
When I think of God’s grace in an individual’s life, the story of Ruth comes to mind. And not just because Ruth was the name of my own dear mother. Ruth from the Bible was a widowed but faithful daughter-in-law whom God in His grace blessed with a new country, new husband and family. She is one of the few women (and a Gentile at that) mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.
God’s grace is also the key principle in so many people’s faith stories. My co-teacher in Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminars, Jim Cunningham, was teaching in Sri Lanka and learned first-hand of this amazing example. Names used are not their real names.
Arjuna, a young married man with a family, was part of a team of Christians running an orphanage in a rural village of Sri Lanka. One of the girls from the orphanage was sexually abused by a boy in the village. The police investigated and she identified the boy. The police then arrested the boy.
But the villagers rose-up-in-arms saying Arjuna sexually assaulted the girl and she just blamed the village boy to protect Arjuna. The villagers found and forced another girl to say she too was assaulted by Arjuna.
Arjuna was ultimately sentenced to fifteen years in jail where he subsequently led a number of other prisoners to Christ. One of those men who accepted Christ was Menika. After his release from prison, Menika went to seminary and became a church-planting pastor in a small rural town of Sri Lanka.
Arjuna continued in his prison ministry. He led another criminal to Christ who had committed a capital offence and was on death row. His name was Chandra. Before he was put to death, Chandra said to Arjuna, “I’d like to give the deed to my house to someone in ministry...” It just so happened Chandra’s house was in the same small rural town where Menika was beginning to plant a church.
o Chandra gave his house to the “church-planting” former prisoner, Menika, redeemed by God’s grace through Arjuna’s being falsely accused and sent to prison. Amazing grace!
After six and a half years Arjuna was released from prison but because of the false charge against him was unable to work with children. He now has an ongoing ministry in the prisons of Sri Lanka.
Jim said to me, “This is not how most of us would have written the script, but—as in the life of Ruth—I rejoice in God’s amazing grace and provision for all involved!”
RESPONSE: I will praise God today for His amazing grace and provision in these lives mentioned and in my own life.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord that Your amazing grace is so real, so available and so free.