All day long the sun had thrown his javelins of fire on a village in Inland China. It seemed as though one's very breath would be stifled. In one of the houses of that village, a baby boy of two years of age apparently sick unto death lay in a room close and humid. His eyes were half open; his lips almost black; the little head, tossing restlessly to and fro, was hot and throbbing; the whole body limp. For three days he had been utterly unconscious of his surroundings. The father and mother had watched with breaking hearts the little life flickering out. Three other children had been taken from them; this was the only one left. What a lovely baby he was, plump, round, full of fun, smiling his winsome baby smile up into their faces. However, sickness had taken over their darling, as it had entered the other three, threatening to snuff out his little life as it had snuffed out the lives of the others.
The native doctor had given the baby a vile concoction which had only made him worse. He had muttered incantations over him and had even heated the cruel iron to place on the tender flesh to burn out the evil spirit. The mother had cried out in protest at this last, so the baby was spared that horror.
She and the father sat beside the little one, dry-eyed and mute with grief. Suddenly a neighbor rushed in crying, "The Jesus Medicine Man is here and is coming to see you now!" For the first time in days the light of hope flashed in that mother's face. She thought, "Perhaps the 'Jesus Man' can cure our baby." Just then the sound of many voices reached her ear, and the next moment the 'Jesus Man,' accompanied by a crowd of people, entered the room.
This medical missionary, from a city three days journey away, had visited their people a year before. He had helped many by relieving them of their suffering and had preached to them the "unsearchable riches of Christ." On this occasion he was hailed with joy all along the route, and was besieged by poor Chinese in all stages of disease. Someone told him of the grief-stricken parents and the sick child. The missionary at once said, "I will go and see what can be done."
Gently he spoke to the sorrowing parents. The mother, clasping her hands in anguish, cried, "Oh, Jesus Man, you can make our baby well." The missionary realized that he needed ice to help the child, but they were three days journey from the city, the only place where ice could be obtained. The baby would be dead before they could make the trip there and return.
"But when you were here before, you said that your God could do anything," said the mother. "Yes," answered the missionary, "I did say that." He was doing what he could to ease the suffering child. "Then He can send us ice," she insisted. "Ask Him for it, and He will send it quick, and my baby will live."
The missionary was startled; indeed, he was utterly dumbfounded. How could he pray for ice, when it seemed impossible to expect an answer? Almost in a daze, the missionary joined the parents on their knees. He opened his lips to pray. The words came haltingly at first, for what would these trusting ones say when no answer came? And how could an answer possibly come? Nevertheless, he prayed. As he proceeded, a strange feeling of exultation entered his soul. He forgot everything, except that he was pleading with his Heavenly Father--not only for the life of the little child, but that the onlooking Chinese who knew not the true God might see the faith of the parents honored. As they rose from their knees there was an inexpressible look of peace on the face of the mother.
Fifteen minutes elapsed, and suddenly it
grew dark! Increasingly so, until it seemed like night! The superstitious
Chinese cried upon their gods for deliverance from this terror which the
'Jesus Man' had brought upon them by his prayer. Then the storm broke in
indescribable fury. It sounded as though thousands of pebbles were falling
from the sky. The fear of the Chinese increased, but upon the doctor's
face came a look of joy. He hurried from the house to find the street covered
with hailstones! Truly,
God moves in mysterious ways
His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
The doctor rushed back into the house crying, "Give me a large dish! God has sent ice from the sky!" They gathered up the ice, the doctor applied ice packs, and gradually the fever left the little body. The restless tossing and moaning ceased. The child was restored to health!
Not for forty years had a hailstorm visited that part of China. It came just in time to honor the faith of that Chinese mother.