The man I shared with that day — his days, I’m afraid, are numbered. Here’s why I feel so strongly about this.
I have not had an “urgency” in my spirit like that since the day I left General Melgar Castro’s house in Honduras in the summer of 1987. Providentially, while on a six-week evangelistic trip to Central America (Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala) in 1987, the Lord had led me to General Melgar Castro’s house — the former military commander of the Honduran Armed Forces. Providentially, too, I had been able to stay with him and his whole family for about ten days. This whole “arrangement” happened via a friend of mine at a Spanish Church in Montreal. She had said to me shortly before leaving on my trip, “When you get to Honduras, please stay with my father.” I didn’t know that her father was the former military commander of Honduras. He was a very important and “highly esteemed” man in this nation. Everyone knew him, and during my trip there, I even got the chance to meet the future president of the country in his home (President Callejas).
Throughout that time in Honduras, I felt very impressed by the Lord to pray, pray, pray, for the general’s entire household. Finally, on my final day there, and after having shared Jesus with the rest of the family, as if to say, “the time is now or never,” the Lord, in a very striking and profound way (through a very rapid beating of my heart), deeply impressed upon me the urgency of sharing with the general himself the “good news” of Jesus Christ. I had been afraid to do so before that, fearing the general more than God himself!
With a sense of fear and trepidation, knowing that God himself was giving me the “ultimatum,” I proceeded to boldly share my faith with him in Spanish. That was an act of sheer obedience, because, truthfully, I was more afraid of what God would do to me than what the general would say, and that is what caused me to start “opening my mouth” in obedience to the Lord’s urgent command. And there would be absolutely no second chance. From this moment onward, I would be headed in the return direction, on the return leg of my journey, as it were, as I would I would be traveling back Northward to Guatemala, then to Mexico, then to Texas, where, not too many days later, I would catch a flight to Canada. I left the general’s house that day, and none of the people there, nor myself, nor even the general himself, I am sure, knew that in just six short months, the general’s life would be suddenly taken from him through a sudden heart-attack.
The extremely rapid beating of my heart, combined with the definite unction from God to “share or else you have missed the big mark,” was as if God was saying, “General, you’ve known about this for a long time. Many people have told you about Jesus Christ (in this nation full of Christians). This, however, is your one final chance to repent, and to change your ways. Will you accept Him into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior?” After a period of time sharing with him, and in a rather glib sort of way, the general then proceeded to glance at his wrist watch, as if to say to me (or to himself, perhaps), “I don’t know if I can afford to listen to this man telling me about my so-called “need” to surrender my life to Jesus Christ much longer. I am a busy man. I don’t really have time for these kinds of things.”
In fact, the general had a lawyer waiting for him in the next room, which — when I suddenly asked him if I was “interrupting him” (upon seeing him glance at his wrist watch), he followed by saying, “Well, I do have a lawyer waiting for me in the next room.” In other words, the glance at the wristwatch was my “cue” to ask him the question (which I did). I fear that it was also the general’s way of saying to God Himself, “I’m really not interested in what this man is saying, please take him away from my presence!” I only feel sorry that he did not really seem that interested in what I had to share with him that day. Was not Jesus the real “Lawyer” who could defend his eternal case before a loving, yet entirely holy and just God?
Six months after sharing with him that day, the general died — suddenly, and without warning. I wonder, does he wish now that he had paid a little more attention to the message of salvation? Only time will tell. When “we all get to heaven,” will General Melgar Castro of Honduras be there? Will you? On what basis? If you think you can get there on any other basis than the shed blood of Jesus Christ, I’m afraid you’re seriously mistaken. The Bible says, “And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22). Furthermore, it says that there is “No other name [except the name of Jesus] given among men and under heaven by which we MUST BE SAVED.” (Acts 4:12).
Think for a moment, Jesus shed his blood for you. “Yet again,” that same unction that I had while visiting the general’s house came to me. And, again, I shared my faith with a sense of fear and trembling, right in the middle of my work environment, which is generally hostile to such “behavior.” In fact, three times I have been hauled in to Human Resources on account of faith-related actions. I admit, I think I made some mistakes on at least one or two of those occasions — all within God’s providence, of course, but mistakes to learn from as how “not to do it so as to unnecessarily offend.” Maybe I have just made a fourth mistake. But then again, I must do what I feel is right, what I feel the Lord is impressing upon my heart. In the midst of all this, I wonder, am I in for a fourth and final time of being hauled in before the authorities at my place of work? Is this the final time? We’ll see.