IN Mount Morgan, Queensland, there lived an old man who had attained the great age of 100 years. He had spent his life in self-pleasing and had no time for the things of God; and he had been a drunkard for at least 75 years. He had also ill-treated his wife who had long since gone to be with God. Surely it would be hard to find in the world a more apparently hopeless case than this!
God’s Marvellous Grace And Patience
One night he had a dream. He saw a long, white winding road and at the end of it stood the Lord Himself. That long, winding road was his own life. The voice of God, to which he had closed his ears for a century, spoke that night and told him that he had gone his own way for a very long time. It was time he realised this and turned to God, Whose marvellous grace and patience had followed him all through the years.
So at last when all hope of a change seemed to be gone, the old man set out on the road that leads from the cross to the throne.
Unable to read on account of failing eyesight, he paid children to read the Bible to him. On their way home from school ‘‘Old Sandy” as he was known —- (Sandy McGuinness) —- would call in any who would read to him. Sometimes he would interrupt them and say, “Read that again.” Then he would exclaim, “Well, isn’t that lovely!” But the children were often more interested in the fee of sixpence which old Sandy paid for their services.
For over four more years the old man lived on, and the Book which he had disregarded for so long a lifetime, became the Bread of Life to him in those closing years. The Saviour, Whom he had scorned until all hope seemed to have departed, had won to Himself and became his truest friend.
He Found Happy Fellowship
After his own conversion some neighbours also were brought into the same new life by other of God’s mysterious and wonderful ways. The old man was delighted to discover this fact. With them he found happy fellowship and they were able to help him in various ways. These neighbours (Mr. and Mrs. H. Bentley, of Walter Hall, Mount Morgan), would sometimes ask, “Well, how are you today, Sandy?”
“Oh, not very good. But I’ll soon be up there in the better land. But look at you! You’ve got your lives before you. Isn’t that wonderful? That’s my one big regret — all the wasted years!”
As he became weaker in body old Sandy’s eager desire for the things of God grew stronger. Does this not show, incidentally, that the life of the soul is something very different from the life of the body? Here, the one burned more brightly as the other faded away.
At last the old man lay down to rest in “the everlasting arms”. His spirit had gone to join his wife in the presence of the Lord. What a great thing to have been saved through God’s mercy even after a century of wasted life! Yet how much greater it would have been to have spent all those years in the service of God! How many others might the old man have brought with him into the kingdom?
While There’s Life There’s Hope
The influence of every life affects others every day. We are either turning people towards God or influencing them the other way. A man may as well try to shake off his shadow as to free himself of this responsibility. “No man liveth unto himself.”
Here then are the lessons of this story.
“While there’s life there’s hope.” Through the mercy of God none need despair. But what of the wasted years? They may be blotted out forever, but who can measure the loss they represent? Regrets in themselves are useless unless they lead to action without delay. Let us not waste another minute but hasten to give our all for the One Who gave His all for us.
Written by W. Arnold Long
from “The Bushman’s Guide” p.19-21
Acknowledgement : CHRISTIAN BOOK ROOM
P. O. Box 95413 T.S.T. Kowloon Hong Kong S.A.R.of China
Photo by Daphne Bailey