When I was sixteen I read a book that grabbed my attention faster than the hottest episodes of
- or Downton Abbey
For three days I chugged massive doses of Dr. Pepper while I devoured the book page by page. What else can one expect to do when reading a book entitled “For This Cross I’ll Kill You”?
It had intrigue. Drama. Riveting characters acting out an impossible plot in a faraway land. And, it was true. Every word.
What an awesome read.
Seriously. I read again
- in my twenties.
- and in my thirties.
Now, I’m reading it One. More. Time. It’s that good.
The edition I’m reading now has a new title-Bruchko. But, the story is the same.
A young man travels to Columbia to bring the gospel to a stone age tribe. They try to kill him. He survives and begins to live with this people, the Motilone tribe. It’s not one bit romantic or glorious.
- The guy can’t speak the language.
- He isn’t capable enough to go hunting with the men.
- So, he sits around the village all day watching the women weave and letting the little kids climb over him like he’s nothing more than really low budget playground equipment.
Depressing- that’s for sure.
Bruchko writes about an incident that happened during one of his many tedious days. An old woman who wandered out of one of the crude houses.
“She walked over to me , grinning a big toothless grin…she smelled bad. I looked at her tangled, thick black hair. Lice were crawling though it.”
He writes how she “put her hands around my waist and hugged me. Then she laughed—a stupid, lunatic laugh. I looked down at her hands. They were filthy. I gingerly took each one off me and walked a little way into the jungle. She followed at a distance, giggling.”
“I couldn’t even tell her to get lost”, he wrote, “A simple thing like that, and I couldn’t say it. There wasn’t a soul there who understood me…
He then shares one blistering self-revelation, the kind most folks may think but never say out loud.
“There’s an old gospel song that says ‘If you can’t bear the cross, then you can’t wear the crown.’ I realized I didn’t want the cross. I wanted the crown, with all its jewels without ever carrying the cross. Looking again at the old woman, I wasn’t even sure I wanted the crown.”
Not exactly the stuff of which missionary letters are made. Honestly, the guy was
- and incredibly lonely.
But, he stayed.
He ate grub worms, slept in the communal houses and slowly learned the tonal language of this tribe until he became one of them.
Sorry if you were expecting
- signs and wonders
- massive numbers of converts
- or intense persecution of the western man with the gospel message.
Didn’t happen that way. What God did was much more profound. He revealed himself to the Motilones through the simple obedience of the young man. God revealed himself to the young man through the ancient rituals of a forgotten tribe.
What happened next was even more amazing. Shook me to the core. Want to find out what that was?
Sweep the the cobwebs of complacency off your spiritual paradigm.
Get off your
butt and read Bruchko.
I dare you.