When I returned after bagging up the 200+ Bibles that God granted passage via His miracle (see Christian shirt) on Wednesday, none of the other Bible smugglers were shocked because God had granted similar miracles to them and others in the past.
But they all rejoiced at the news and glorified God. One of them then advised, "See what God does when you trust Him? Now the key is putting the kind of trust in God for Bible smuggling into all other areas of your life."
After sending my last update, I left to rendezvous with the others and cross the border for the Bible smuggling group's annual retreat. I wasn't sure if we would be carrying Bibles to the safe-house across the border first, but it became apparent that we were, so I packed a suitcase and joined the others in prayer. Needless to say, I was still flying high from the miracle the day before. I asked the Lord what I could do to express my trust in Him.
As I headed for the border on my own (we went off in ones and twos so as not to be all bunched up) the Lord gave me His answer. He impressed on my heart that I was to walk right up to the customs guard counter, put my personal bag for the retreat on the counter, put my passport (which would have been just stamped at the immigration desk) away into my neck pouch, then grab my bag and the suitcase, and walk to the exit, totally ignoring the customs guards. I was sure the Lord would blind their eyes again, and became excited at the prospect of another victory, and sharing another praise report.
I approached the immigration desk with confidence, cleared it, and headed into the customs hall. As I rounded the corner and headed toward the counter, I suddenly realized that only two guards were on duty behind the counter. I had already passed one so the only person between me and the exit was the second one, who was a young girl sitting back from the counter near the exit who didn't seem to be paying much attention.
What the heck, that's it? Where's the opposition? Before I knew what I was doing, instead of stopping at the customs counter, I just kept walking, even looking away from the last guard, which is the worst thing you can do while smuggling Bibles. Right before the exit, she called for me to go back and put my bags through the scanner. Even before doing that, I knew I was caught.
When the bags exited the scanner, the guard motioned for me to approach her, and then instead of asking politely as is typical, yelled at me, "Bring the Bibles over here!" with a scowl. The young girl had turned into a tigress.
Instead of witnessing to her, I actually swallowed like a school boy caught by his teacher and complied with slumped shoulders. The defeat was complete, as was the humiliation. She told me to take the Bibles out but I told her to take the whole suitcase. I was so angry with myself that if she had slapped my face, I would have appreciated it.
God had given me instructions, and I had disobeyed. It wasn't intentional, and I wasn't even thinking that I could handle the last guard on my own. But I had been bracing for another counter full of guards. When I saw only one between me and the exit and she was only half paying attention, I had been thrown off my guard. I had taken my eyes off Jesus to look at how small the waves were, and had sunk.
The other factor was that I hadn't asked for prayer cover for this crossing when I had the chance. At the end of my last update, I was tempted to ask for prayer cover but didn't know for sure if we would be bringing Bibles, so I hadn't asked for it. Therefore some of the prayer supporters probably thought that the next run won't be until a few days later.
Jesus said, "for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). How true are His words. With Him I/we can smuggle Bibles and witness to border guards. Without Him, we can do NOT some things, but absolutely "nothing," and I for one am reduced to a cowering wimp before a young girl.
I exited the customs sickened to my stomach and fuming at myself for having disobeyed God and disappointed the prayer supporters, as well as the persecuted Christians waiting for the confiscated Bibles. Learning that two of the three others who carried Bibles - the founder of the organization and a 71-year old pastor from Australia - also had been caught didn't help and showed that Satan isn't going to just roll over and play dead.
Does God Exist?