2002-03-25 - The Blind Irishman
Matthew 11:5 The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
A pastor was visiting a family far from his congregation who had living with them a man 90 to 100 years of age. The pastor remarked that he was a very old man, "Aye: It is well for me that I have lived to be old; but it was bad for Solomon." The pastor asked him what his hope was established upon and the man replied, "On the love of God my Savior; for when I think that the Lord Jesus Christ died; that He shed His precious blood on the cross for sinners, I am astonished that any one can ever perish. Oh, that blood! That blood! Sure it would wash away the sins of millions of worlds. God has said that some will perish; and I must believe God."
As the conversation moved on the man was asked how he had come to such a deep knowledge of the faith and of the Bible he quoted so freely. He replied that about five years earlier he had become blind and wanting to prepare his soul for death he had one of his grandchildren purchase a Bible and made the child read it to him constantly. Having never been to church it was through the Bible that he had learned what he knew.
The pastor visited the man frequently and one time remarked that when Peter was walking on the water and doubted, he sunk. The man rose up with his cane, struck the ground and replied, "And the moment we now doubt, we sink. Why should we doubt? Is not God love? Is not Christ love? Christ was humbled in the the flesh, but now He is in glory. Can Christ lessen in love or mercy to sinners? No: if He increases in any thing, it is in mercy; I think His love is greater and greater every day."
Several months after the pastor met the man for the first time God restored his sight and ability to walk upright. The man then went constantly among his neighbors and prayed with them to turn to God. He urged them to seek the mercy offered in Christ. People began to realize that he had a vast understanding of the Bible and of the principles of the Gospel of salvation.
This was amazing to all because they also knew that he had never been to church and had never spent much time with religious people. In those five years of blindness, he had, in fact, been given real sight.
Several other local pastors heard of him and came to visit with him. They found that his reputation did not do justice to his wisdom and understanding. They found that his reputation was far less than his real understanding. He died about a year and a half after the pastor first met him. The man never heard the gospel preached or made it to a church because there were none in his area, but he left this world and joined the redeemed of the Lord in eternal glory. His story has survived in history but his name has not.
The glorious thought is that as children of God we shall one day meet him in heaven.
Soli Deo Gloria,