This past Good Friday not only focused my mind on Jesus’ suffering and reconciling death, it also stirred an emotion laden memory. Easter Sunday not only reminded me of Christ’s victorious resurrection, it generated a deep longing—a longing paired with a decade old recollection.
Waking from my doze in the economy section on a Singapore to London night flight, I struggled out of my seat, stumbled to the rear exit door stretching my cramped leg muscles, and leaned forward to peer down through the porthole. Ten kilometers below, the blackness of the Bay of Bengal contrasted with the specks of light along the shore of India.
Soon faint patches of light appeared below—dozens of hamlets, villages, and small towns. No car headlights streaming along freeways, no lit up cloverleaf intersections, no colored neon lights or blazing mall parking lots which typify the North American night scene, just hundreds of faint blobs of light clear to the horizon.
For half an hour I stood there, transfixed, as I watched hundreds of kilometers of Indian carpet unrolling underneath me, an endless dark pattern blotched with wisps of white and faint splotches of light.
Tears began to flow down my cheeks as I realized that these lights represented over a billion people—hundreds of millions illiterate—people loved by God, who knew nothing of Jesus’ reconciling sacrifice, who had no idea He conquered death. I prayed, “Oh Jesus, please use me to bring your Word to people like this. I don’t care how long it takes or how much it costs. Whatever it takes, do it. Use me, please.”
This weekend my eyes again stung with tears as I thought of the unimaginably large numbers of people all over the world, billions of them, who still have not had the chance to choose to follow Jesus, the Saviour who died for them.
Billions of people, loved by God, but trapped in traditional and secular world religions with little hope of ever hearing God’s message of love for them. How I long for the day when the good news of God’s love has been translated into the world’s last 2,000 languages—340 million people who still cannot read, or hear read to them, a single sentence of God’s Word in the language they know best.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday mean nothing to them. It’s enough to make a grown man cry.