Paul’s sermon in Athens in the Book of Acts chapter 17 always fascinates me. In this speech, Paul is able to connect the Creator-God concept to the reality of the Savior-God. I saw this connecting line in one of my conversations with a South Asian gentleman, Resham. But before we go to Resham’s story, let us look at Acts 17. Now, if you do not have a lot of time to read the whole chapter, you can just read with me a few verses which I included here (below).
(Acts 17:23-24, 31, ESV). “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth . . . [God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him [Jesus] from the dead.”
Let me share Resham’s story.
Resham is a Christian from South Asia NP. I met him last year in Kathmandu. He shared to me an encounter he had with Jesus. Before he became a Christian, he was a teenaged boy living in a remote village up in the Himalayan mountains. At that time, his father was working in West Asia as a migrant worker. After four years, his father came home and was telling everyone about following Jesus. Apparently, his father became a Christian when he was working in West Asia. He was the only Christian in the village. That time, if anyone became a Christian, they were persecuted for their faith. The village's authority would come and ask them to leave the village under threat of physical harm. This happened to Resham’s father and yet he kept sharing his Christian faith, even going to other villages in the mountain area. Without any sign of fear, he kept trying to convince the whole village to follow Jesus. Resham even witnessed his father invoking the name of Jesus for the healing of village people who were sick and infirm. He did not necessarily agree with his father. He could not bring himself to fully embrace this new found faith in the family. But he respected his father and tolerated this situation.
At one time, Resham’s father was not home and out of the village somewhere. One night, a group of people from another village came to Resham’s home carrying a sick person. They were expecting Resham’s father to come and heal their sick friend. They were so disappointed that no one was going to pray for their sick friend. They still needed to go back to their own place which is a few hours of walking and they did not want to bring back a sick person with them. In their desperation, they asked Resham to pray for the sick person. Resham relented and prayed. The sick person was healed and the visitors went home to their own village.
Resham was not a believer when he uttered the prayer for healing. He later shared with me that he consented to the people’s request for prayer out of pity for the sick person and nothing else. His prayer was like this: “I pray for healing for this person in the name of the God that my father believes.” He recounted to me that he has seen his father say “In Jesus Name!” many times while praying for sick people or laying hands on those who ask for prayer. He simply imitated that prayer because he did not know what else to do. He did not expect anything to happen. However, God intervened and brought healing to the sick.
Now, Resham and his family are active members of a local church in the city of Kathmandu. He also helps the local pastor with occasional preaching and with some other leadership responsibilities. Resham, on many occasions, has helped me with translation work and documentation. His story testifies of God’s intervention in spite of the people’s inadequacies and limitation. God is in control. God is the Creator and the Savior of the world.