Monday, October 9, 2017
Have you ever heard someone talk about “a God thing”? It means that God continues to work in our world in non-miraculous ways. Although absent of miracles, the happening is so unusual, that the action points to the work of God. Recently, David Sargent had the following story in one of his regular mail-outs which tells about “a God thing.”
The Train Story
In the 1960s, Vienna, Austria and Communist-occupied Budapest, Hungary were worlds apart, separated by the Iron Curtain. Vienna was basking in the new freedom of liberation from Nazi domination; Budapest was suffocating under Russian occupation.
Ivan Martos, however, was like a breath of fresh air in Budapest when Lynn Camp and a co-worker visited there, seeking people who professed faith in Christ. Camp describes Martos as “one of the friendliest and happiest, most positive and enthusiastic of God’s creatures.” Martos worked as an officer of the National Bank of Hungary. Because of his position, he would travel to Vienna twice a year to attend banking conferences. These trips enabled Martos to visit with Camp and other Christians regularly.
It was during one of those summer trips when Martos got off the train in Vienna, Camp immediately knew something was wrong. “Before we could even leave the train platform, Ivan, practically in tears, related his bitter experience. That day, as the train neared the Austrian border, uniformed guards boarded the train at the next-to-last stop on the Hungarian side. They would make their way through the train, checking identification and documentation of all passengers prior to arriving at the border stop. The guards immediately discovered that Mr. Martos was an important officer with Hungary’s National Bank. His papers were all in order, permitting the official travel. Before proceeding to the next passenger, one of the guards asked Ivan to open his briefcase. The first item removed for inspection by the guard was Ivan’s personal Bible. In a loud, angry voice, the guard held up the Bible for all in the car to see and yelled, ‘What is a man in your position doing with a Bible?’ Before Ivan could respond, the guard sailed the Bible through the open window of the moving train.”
“Ivan had indeed lost a best friend.”
Fast forward two years. Again, Camp was awaiting Martos’ arrival in Vienna. “This time he arrived as upbeat as he had been downcast two years earlier.” Here’s why: “Just a few days before leaving Budapest, a package had been delivered by the postman. Ivan did not recognize the return name and address. But as his wife prepared dinner, he sat in the kitchen and opened the unexpected prize – it was his Bible! And accompanying his old friend was a letter of apology and explanation. It went something like this: ‘Some of our children were playing one day along the railroad tracks. They found your Bible. Not knowing what it was, one of them took it to his grandmother, who immediately recognized it as a Bible. Word spread quickly through the little village on the border. Some of our older people had possessed Bibles before they were banned and remembered the significance and power of the Word of God. We decided to conceal the discovery while those who so desired would make handwritten copies. That joyful task took two years. Please forgive our keeping your Bible so long. But you might like to know that we are now a secret band of about 30 who have baptized each other and seek to follow Jesus in our daily lives.’”
“A God Thing!”