"BOOM!" The dynamite was loud enough and the blast strong enough that it made him jump ... but Wilfredo was getting a lot of fish. He knew that fishing like this was against the law, but most likely no one would ever know what he was doing since he was a long way out in the jungle. He hoped no one would ever find out about his fishing with dynamite. It seemed so easy and so much faster than any other way to fish. Just light the stick of dynamite, wait until it was almost ready to explode, and then throw it quickly into the river. The underwater explosion killed lots of fish. The dead fish would quickly float to the top, and what a catch! His family would eat some and they would sell the rest.
Wilfredo was unaware that his whole life was about to be changed. He had grown up in a Christian home and had gone to Sunday school and many Bible meetings. He had often been told of God's wonderful plan of salvation for poor lost sinners. He had heard many times how the Lord Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, had been buried and rose again the third day. But Wilfredo had not accepted God's loving offer of the forgiveness of sins. He had heard the warning from Hebrews 2:3: "How shall we escape, if we neglect [pay no attention to] so great salvation." But Wilfredo had neglected it. He had learned by memory the verse, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" (Ecclesiastes 12:1), but he had not remembered the One who had made him.
Paulino, Wilfredo's father, had taken him to gospel meetings every Sunday for over 10 years. That meant that he had heard of God's wonderful love over 500 times! His family read the Bible together every morning each day of the year. Wilfredo had heard the Bible read over 3,000 times!! What amazing patience God had shown Wilfredo! A kind teacher might have explained a math lesson to him a second time if he did not understand it the first time, or a really patient teacher might even explain it three or four times. But is there any love and patience so great as God's — to explain to a poor lost sinner his need of the Saviour thousands of times?
Now as Wilfredo was fishing with dynamite, he was not thinking about God. However, in one last and powerful way, God was going to remind Wilfredo that no one can stay in this world forever — that everyone will leave; everyone will face God.
He put a match to the fuse and watched and waited for the red glow to burn low. Just another few seconds and he would let go ... "BOOM!" Before he could throw it, the blast went off, and Wilfredo knew he was hurt badly.
The terrible pain confused him and he ran. He could not see where he was going, but he ran deeper and deeper into the jungle. Friends who had seen the accident ran after him until they caught him. They carried him to a hospital. It was while he was in the hospital that Wilfredo learned how badly he was hurt. He had lost his right hand and his right eye.
Now his thoughts turned toward the Saviour he had neglected for so long. The devil had been a hard, unkind master, and Wilfredo no longer wanted to serve him. Wilfredo knew now that God had spared his life to give him another opportunity to forsake his sins and be saved. He was now willing to accept God's free gift. "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
Are any of you boys and girls like Wilfredo? Do you have Christian parents or friends who have often read God's Word to you? Have you often been at Bible meetings? God is patiently waiting for you to accept His loving offer of salvation. Have you turned away from God's loving gift a hundred times? ... or even a thousand times? "The Lord ... is long-suffering [patient] to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Someday God's patience will end. Someday the door of salvation will be closed forever. Trust in the Lord Jesus, God's beloved Son, today before it is forever too late. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Wilfredo is so thankful that now he is saved. He says it was worth even losing a hand and an eye. He began reading his Bible and rejoicing in the sureness that his heavy load of sin was gone from his heart forever. He now teaches a little Sunday school class himself. From his own experience he tells the children of God's loving patience in waiting for sinners to be saved. The children can see that Wilfredo is happier without his hand and eye and his sins than he ever was with two hands, two eyes and his heavy load of sin. "Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you" (Isaiah 30:18). "The long-suffering [patience] of our Lord is salvation" (2 Peter 3:15).
Is God still waiting for you?
Copied with permission from Messages of God's Love published by Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL 60101.
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