He'd been in the established church all his life, but he never understood God until this moment...
Picture a young law student in 16th century Germany poking his way through his local library. His eyes are taken with hundreds of books, each with it's own story to tell....
Suddenly he spies a hint of red among the blacks and browns and grays surrounding him. Upon closer examination, he discovers it to be a little book...but not just any book. It turns out to be a Bible...but not just a few of the chapters favored by the local priest that he had heard read countless times. It's the whole thing. And it's lying in his feverish grasp, waiting for him to devour it.
Thus began his quest to truly understand this familiar yet mysterious Book. Hours and hours were spent mining it's contents. The young man found himself enthralled with stories and ideas he'd never heard before, and slowly but surely the truths he was reading worked themselves into the very fabric of his being.
In his quest for more of this truth, this young man opted out of law school and became a monk. Seeing his unique passion and potential, the head of the monastery directed him to pursue a doctorate in theology. As he began his course of study, his little red Bible was taken from him. It was not thought appropriate for monks studying theology to have unsupervised access to the Scriptures .
But it was way too late for this eager student. In his devotion to his treasured possession, he had memorized all the Psalms and most of the New Testament. He was so familiar with the Old Testament that he was able to outline the form and content of nearly every book...in his head!
With so much Truth swirling around his head and heart, the young man was primed to identify serious errors contained in his "theology" books. He found himself disturbed at how the Word he knew and loved had been shamelessly twisted and molded to fit the beliefs and customs of his generation. The young monk began to dream of what could be if his world were to embrace the Truths of Scripture and reject the lies of what was considered right and true.
But this man wasn't just a dreamer...he was a doer. The fire burning in his soul couldn't be contained in just himself, or his monastery, or his church, or his nation. Before the world knew what was going on, this fire became a raging inferno of Truth that blazed through souls so long held captive to Satan's schemes.
Did it start when this monk nailed the words written on his soul on the front door of his local church? Or was it when he debated some of the leading minds in this conspiracy of darkness? Maybe it was when he translated the words of that little red Book into the heart language of his people.
No. These are merely the evidences of a deeper work, the fruit of a Seed planted long before.
It started with a little red Book and a hungry...and ultimately satisfied.... soul!
This young man's power wasn't in his intelligence or his ability to communicate, but in those hidden years of searching and studying and embracing the words of Truth.
So when God went looking for an instrument to use bring the Words of freedom to his captive children, it's no surprise that he chose Martin Luther. *
I love this story, because it shows me that God isn't looking for the strong and fearless to accomplish His work. He just wants simple hearts placed in His hands to be made strong and fearless through the power of His Truth, and then He uses them as His messengers.
If God came looking for another reformer, would He find you? Would He find me? Are you so entwined in and surrendered to His Truth that He would choose you?
Because our God is looking! His eyes are running throughout the earth searching for hearts that are completely His....hearts willing to be broken and molded.
Historian D’Aubigne said about that little red Bible, “In that Bible the Reformation lay hid.”
Reformations begin when the Truth is embraced and lived out!
* A big thank you to my lovely friend Grace, from whom I first heard this amazing story. :o)