An irrefutable and powerful testimony

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Life coaching, Odds and Ends, Social commentary

I feel compelled to tell all of you about one single, irrefutable and powerful testimony of faith.  I have told this story to dozens if not hundreds of people over the years, and it is always equally potent.

On my 13th birthday, April 24 back in 1986, my father’s best friend drowned in a fishing accident in Ontario, Canada.  Like my father, his best buddy was a preacher man, and his name was Pentti.  We were living in Thunder Bay, Ontario at the time, and I recall Pentti being one of the warmest, good-hearted people that I have ever known.  The man had a tangible aura of invisible light about him.

Pentti was an avid fisherman in addition to being a preacher, which is another thing that bonded him and my dad in their friendship.  One spring day in late April 1986, a Swedish visiting preacher that was staying at Pentti’s home on his trip to Canada asked if they could go fishing.  Pentti knew that the ice was already getting thin even on the northern lakes in Ontario, but he wanted to be a good chap and accommodate the Swede, so they headed as far north as was reasonable to drive to do some ice fishing.  One man survived that trip and the other lost his life.

The story goes that Pentti and his visitor walked out onto the ice, which seemed to hold up and be solid, until suddenly the ice gave way and both men were immersed in the freezing waters of the lake.  Pentti had a very bad case of rheumatism, and his limbs would often stiffen up in the winter time, even though he was indoors.  It’s not hard to imagine what the ice cold water did to Pentti in the few minutes that he was able to keep his head above the surface.  Both men screamed out for help, hoping their cries would reach someone’s ears on the shores of the lake.  They were literally out in the boondocks, in a very remote area of Ontario, so the chances of anyone being around were slim to none.

Pentti knew that his time was up.  Very solemnly, he stated to his Swedish friend in peril.

“My time has come,” and with his last words, he preached one last time … only this this time, he preached to himself.

“In the name and blood of Jesus Christ, ALL of my sins are forgiven!”

And so he sank below the surface.

Man.  That just sends chills up my spine every time I reiterate this part of the story.  THAT is powerful, folks.  THAT is humility.  THAT was a righteous man.

The Swede continued to cry out for help after Pentti went down.  By stroke of divine intervention, there was a fishing cabin on one side of the lake, and the man’s voice carried across the ice to that spot.  A couple of other fishermen heard him from afar and ended up saving the Swede’s life before he was a goner too.

The police were supposed to retrieve Pentti’s body for a proper burial, to say nothing of his widowed wife, who was devastated by her loss.  However, the police took their sweet time and were in no hurry to get the job done, so my father – accompanied by 11 other fishermen in four boats – went out to the lake three months after the incident, to where Pentti drowned to do justice to his fallen friend.  One of my dad’s fishing accomplices had an old school Sonar device, which was an ancient version of a fish finder before they became high-tech digital things, and the gimmick was that it would actually print out a graph showing the bottom of the lake and the fish herds beneath the boat.  Now please keep in mind that none of the 11 fishermen who were with my dad were Christians or men of faith.  However, when they came to the place where Pentti lay, about 50m down on the bottom of the lake (which was about 1okm x 25km), the Sonar drew the picture of a CROSS.

Think about that, folks.  THAT is a SIGN.  My dad was not even in the boat that had the Sonar, as all four boats were using hooked drags to sweep the bottom of the lake, hoping to catch the fallen fisherman on the drag hooks.  The paper printout of the Sonar graph with the cross where Pentti was discovered was given at his funeral to his widowed wife.  The fishermen on that expedition even took photos of the Sonar drawing, which my father showed to me many years ago.

All I have to say is that this is one of the most powerful testimonies I have from real life.  I am sure this has touched many people reading this right now.

Consider Pentti’s last words, and consider what that means to you.

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