(And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Rev. 12:11)

When I attended Bible school in the late 1960's, all the students/congregation lived in a small Texas community within walking distance of the church/school. Often, we would fellowship from house to house sharing the Lord with one another, and discussing wonderful testimonies, miracles and lessons. These times were so faith building and inspiring and a vital part of our Christian education.

Every Spring (Easter) and Fall (October), huge 3-day conventions were held on the church-owned campgrounds, 20 miles outside the city. Alumni came from all over the United States and the world. Many were missionaries in foreign fields who timed their R&R leaves so they could attend the conventions for a much needed time of rest, refreshing, and renewing of spirit.
This testimony came out of one of those conventions.


Sometime during the 1950's, a certain missionary and his wife answered the call to a remote jungle region, to bring the Gospel to an ancient, tribal people.

The living conditions were as harsh as the sweltering climate, but the people were as friendly as they were primitive.

For months, the young couple struggled with the language barrier... how could one teach the Gospel of Christ without being able to communicate?! By the end of the first year, they had painstakingly hammered out a form of dialogue. Between several words of English and tribal tongue each had learned, and a LOT of sign language, they began to understand one another. What elation!

The missionaries began in Genesis, the Book of Beginnings. The tribe embraced the Creation stories... they had always KNOWN there had to be a great being who had created their world: the sun, rivers, sky, jungle, and animals, and even themselves. They had appreciated the wonders of birth and the mystery of death, the consistency of night and day, the stars, and seed time and harvest. NOW this Supreme God had a NAME (Ex. 3:14)! And He was a God of LOVE (John 3:16), not like their other gods.

They had worship born into them; a hunger, a god-consciousness that is born into the hearts of all men (Rom. 12:3). They had been faithful to their cruel, heathen gods... and so sincere. How much more sincere can one get than for a mother to tear her infant from her breast and cast him into the river to the crocodile god, to appease his anger and assure the crops for the coming year?!

But this God was nothing like that. He did not require their sons... in fact, He had given His OWN Son to die in their place, that all might be saved for all eternity. It was at this crucial point that the Salvation message hit a snag... all communication had broken down. The missionaries had no way to explain HOW Christ had died for them. They couldn't convey crucifixion. Oh, they could fashion a cross, all right... that part was easy... but the natives could not understand how a man could possibly die from being tied to a tree for 6 hours. The reason that they could not comprehend was, they had no concept of a NAIL... they had never seen one!

The missionary had no access to heavy metal or iron, so all he could do was fashion one out of a stick. Yet, sticks weren't strong enough to hold a man to a tree long enough for him to die of it! (At this point, you, like me, may be reminded of that poem: "For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost... all for the want of a NAIL!") After the missionary had labored so hard for 2 years, the Salvation message also seemed to be lost for the want of a nail.

I'm sure the young minister pondered all this with great perplexity and much prayer as he made the long, once-a-month trek through the jungle to the closest outpost. His wife, now several months pregnant, had been craving oranges. Fresh ones were out of the question, so the best they could do was to write home and ask relatives to send them a case of mandarin oranges. As he trudged along, the husband was hoping for some mail from home, and maybe the oranges. After all, his dear wife had so few creature comforts, and had given up so much to come to this mission field with him.

The mail was so slow in this part of the world, the preacher mused. If he had only had the foreknowledge of the nail dilemma, he would have written months ago and asked his family to send him one. Now it would take another 6 months for the letters to go out and the answers returned. Who knew?! A nail for Pete's sake... so common in the States, yet here, souls hung in the balance for the lack of a stupid nail!

The young man finally arrived at the tiny hut that served as a post office/warehouse for the few Whites in the jungle. A stack of mail AND a case of oranges that had slowly made their way upriver to the outpost, awaited him. To his great delight, the case of mandarin oranges were not the usual small cans, but they were restaurant size cans. WOW! His wife would be thrilled. Not only would she have enough for the duration of her pregnancy, but enough to share with the entire tribe! (Ps.68:19)

The return trip to the village was filled with anticipation, and the preacher was not disappointed in his wife's reaction. While her husband went to look for a sharp rock with which to open the can, she excitedly scurried about looking for a gourd-type bowl. Eventually, the can was opened and the precious contents were eagerly poured from the jagged container into the bowl. But something was wrong... something big, hard and sharp had also fallen into the bowl along with the fruit and the juice. It was a spike type NAIL!

They never found out how it got into that can of mandarin oranges, but they knew that God had orchestrated all the circumstances.
You can guess the rest of the story... the tribe at last understood HOW Christ died on a tree.

The Bible says that the Lord makes a way where there seems to be no way and the crooked way straight (Luke 3:5). He certainly did in this case... the crooked way was made straight. Was it a miracle? Yes, I think so.
If you study the Biblical accounts of miracles, you'll discover that more often than not, God uses natural things, in an unnatural way, to bring about the supernatural!

That in itself is a miracle!

Rev. C. L. Moser -- 1/7/03