Due to copyrights, I can’t simply reprint a portion from Reinhard Bonnke’s book, Living a Life of Fire. He’s now in heaven; but since he cared so greatly about the soul of every individual, I believe he would be glad of the sharing of this incident, related in his book. I attempt here to tell it mainly in my own words for the benefit of those who may not have time to read the entire book.
Reinhard’s father, Hermann Bonnke, had served in the German army during World War II, though he had not liked seeing the rise of the new head of Germany. He never joined the Nazi party. Amazingly, he did not know of or learn of the atrocities committed towards the Jewish people in the concentration camps until nearing the very end, close to the time of the German defeat, when the war was being brought to a close by the allied forces. That was especially grievous for him to learn of because as a believer, he regarded the Jews as the chosen people through whom God had revealed the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of all mankind.
While in a British prison barracks himself, then, for German soldiers, one day he had been excused from work detail due to not feeling well. As he lay in his bunk, with great despair and remorse, he repented to the Lord for having served in Germany’s army and told Him that for the rest of his life, he would dedicate it to serving Him. Suddenly, he heard a door open and some footsteps coming his way, so he rolled from the bunk to stand, in order to meet whoever it might be.
There, in a pure white robe, with Middle Eastern sandals on His feet, walking toward him was a Man, smiling, with His hands out as if to embrace him. When Hermann reached for His hand, he saw that it had been punctured completely through, by the force of a Roman nail. It was Jesus, and He said to him, “Hermann, I am so glad you are coming!” But just as quickly as He had arrived, He vanished before Hermann’s eyes.
Why that supernatural incident occurred, we can only speculate. To our minds, it might have been because he was in such despair over what he had been a part of, albeit unknowingly. Perhaps it was due to his own or due to the prayers of others. However, of course, it was a treasured moment that remained with Reinhard’s father forever. After he was released from prison, he did become a pastor for the rest of his life.
I retell this story, in case you feel despair over anything you’ve done, (you can be forgiven), or if you feel despair over some other kind of circumstance, or even the present state of world problems–remember what we have to look forward to. Every believer in Jesus can think of the wedding feast or marriage supper of the Lamb, (Rev. 19:9) to which we’ve been invited. We can picture Jesus saying the same thing to us if we’ve received Him as our Savior and Lord (whom we’re privileged to serve while here on our earthly journey), and have accepted His invitation to that great occasion.
Therefore today, if you are a believer, insert your own name, and hear Jesus saying to you, “_________, I am so glad you are coming!”
P. A. Oltrogge
(Inspired by the autobiography
of Reinhard Bonnke)