Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116: 15)
The scorching sun beat down mercilessly, making everyone exhausted. Sweat flowed like a salty stream, bringing tears to eyes. According to Indian unwritten rules, the bus driver either drags slowly along a winding road in the mountains, or drives too fast around the hairpin turns on the mountain roads.
What is around the next turn in the mountains? A herd of skinny cattle, nipping dried grass from the scorching sun? A rockslide? A speeding oncoming truck? What would happen to everyone who bought a bus ticket for this trip: Good luck, irreversible loss, sudden success or devastating disappointment? Everyone who somehow ended up on the bus would pass through unpredictable twists of fate, and none of them would ever forget this trip.
Paritosh closed his eyes, and his thoughts took him back to his recent past. He was about to finish the Bible College when his parents started mentioning the fact that soon they would find him a suitable bride from a good Christian family. Like any other young man of his age, Paritosh trusted his parents highly, relying absolutely on their choice. Soon afterward the first pictures of various young girls were shown to him, and he picked out the one that he liked the most.
The first meeting of the two families did not give any opportunity for the bride and groom even to look closely at each other. But from time to time they threw confused looks at each other, trying to penetrate into the unseen future. At the end of the meeting their parents decided that there would be no sin if the young people exchanged phone numbers so they could call each other from time to time.
The next meeting of the groom and bride was to be held at their wedding. But by the time of their wedding, Paritosh managed not only to get used to the voice of his bride, but to love her laughter and the pleasant tone of her voice. However, no matter how he tried, he could not remember the way she looked. But she looked wonderful and dazzlingly beautiful in her sari at their wedding!
A year later a tiny girl was born into their family. The young couple named her Priya, which means beloved. How they loved this little defenseless creature! There was no happier family than this one. And everything was well with them, though they faced some difficulties from time to time. Paritosh became a pastor in a small village. His ministry was growing, and he even began to visit neighboring villages to help other pastors, gladly sharing with them the knowledge he gained in the Bible College.
Suddenly the bus slammed on the brakes and woke up a dozing Paritosh. Because of the unexpected jolt he dropped his Bible down to the bus aisle. Being only half-awake, he did not realize that what was about to happen would be so scary and terrible that it would divide the lives of all the passengers on board into “before and after the trip”. Instantly some armed with sticks, axes and hoes flooded the bus, overflowing the souls of every traveler with penetrating horror and boundless despair. Paritosh felt his heart pounding with uncontrollable speed, filling his soul with a chilling premonition of something irrevocably traumatic and evil.
The voice of the bandit leader cut the tense silence in their muffled bus. “India is for Hindus! Are there any Muslims in the bus?”
An unfortunate old man was trying to slink deep down into the broken bus seat, to hide at least for a moment to the frenzied crowd. He was staring at the floor with dimmed eyes. But a few trembling hands treacherously pointed straight at him. It would be the last time in his long life that the old man looked at his terrified wife. His eyes filled with an inexpressible anguish, the whooping crowd dragged him off the bus. Every passenger was paralyzed and bound with terror – the bravest of them frozen. Their fear prevented anyone from defending the old man, except his distraught and screaming wife. The old man would never be again kneel on his prayer mat. He was gone forever. He went to the darkness from where no one has ever returned.
The sizzling gaze of the bandit leader drilled mercilessly into everyone who was sitting in the bus, looking for the next defenseless victim. In order not to miss a single Muslim, all the men were forced to remove their pants to check if any of them were circumcised. This shameful procedure helped identify a couple of unfortunate adherents of Islam. Following after the old man, they also plunged into the darkness. Their bereaved families were left with a legacy of bitter tears, and even unborn generations would be saturated with unceasing hatred for the killers.
Some passengers sobbed quietly, waiting for the next burst of unbridled fury of the Hindu fanatics. Others froze from the ongoing carnage, thinking with horror that they could be the next victims of the misguided religious fervor of the bandits. In silent desperation, Paritosh cried out to Jesus. He prayed for the protection of all who happened to fall into this metal trap of a bus. Suddenly a clear thought from the Holy Spirit passed through him with fire, leaving his heart with pain: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Now Paritosh knew that he would not escape the zealous blood thirst of the Hindu fanatics.
He spent the last minutes of his earthly life mentally preparing to meet Jesus, to whom he had dedicated his entire short life. Mortal anguish gripped his heart, and bitter tears blinded him when for the last time he prayed fervently for his wife and little daughter Priya. A young widow who could hardly write her name without an error, and a girl growing up without her father. What could be worse in India? Nobody could support his family and help collect a decent dowry to marry his daughter off in the future. But the Holy Spirit comforted Paritosh, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families; he leads forth the prisoners with singing…”
“India is for Hindus! Are there any Christians in the bus?” – The silence was cut by the bandit’s voice again.
Paritosh stood silently, wanting to protect other passengers from unnecessary searches in an attempt to find some Bibles. Paritosh’s friend also stood up.
“India is for Jesus! India is for Jesus! India is for Jesus!” They cried out. These were the last words left by the young bleeding martyrs as an inheritance for future generations.
The bus, which became a place of mourning because of the raid of the Hindu fanatics, finally arrived at its destination. Paritosh’s Bible sat alone on his empty seat, shouting without words of the tragedy that had struck just a few hours earlier. The preaching of the murdered Christians continued to echo in the hearts of everyone who was an unwitting witness of the dramatic events – “India is for Jesus! India is for Jesus!”
As chance would have it, a teenager covered Paritosh’s Bible with a long Indian scarf, and put it quietly into his bag. The seed of faith was planted in the heart of the young Indian boy and sprinkled with the blood of the young martyrs. The death of those two young men was not in vain. India will not always be a graveyard for missionaries and Christians. Revival is coming, and the seeds mixed with the blood of martyrs will sprout! India will be open to the Gospel, and Indians will come to Jesus indeed.