The Man Who Died For Me

Salvation to the Lost

Many years ago, I wanted to go as a foreign missionary, but my way seemed hedged about. After a few years I went to live on the Pacific coast. Life was rough in the mining country where I lived, and this was my last chance for missionary work. I heard of a man over the hills who was dying of consumption. "He is so vile," they said, "no one can stand to stay with him; so the boys placed food by him and leave him for 24 hours. They'll find him dead sometime, and the quicker the better. Never had a soul, I guess." The pity of it haunted me as I went about my work, and I tried for 3 days to get someone to go and see him and find out if he was in need of better care. As I turned from the last man, vexed with his indifference, the thought came to me: "Why don't you go yourself? Here's missionary work, if you want it." I'll not tell how I weighed the probable usefulness of my going, or how I shrank from one so vile as he. It wasn't the kind of work I wanted. At last one day I went over the hills to the little mud cabin. It was just one room. The door stood open, and up in one corner on some straw and colored blankets I found the dying man. Sin had left awful marks on his face, and if I had not heard that he could not move, I should have fled. As my shadow fell over the floor, he looked up and greeted me with a dreadful oath. "Don't speak so, my friend," I said. "I ain't your friend," he said. "I never had any friends, and I don't want any now." I reached out at arm's length, the fruit I had brought him, and stepped back to the doorway. I asked him, hoping to find a tender place in his heart, if he remembered his mother, but he cursed her. I asked him if he ever had a wife, and he cursed her. I spoke of God, and he cursed Him. I tried to speak of Jesus and His death for us, but he stopped me with his oaths, and said: "That's all a lie. Nobody ever died for others." I went away discouraged. I said to myself: "I knew it was no use." But the next day I went again, and every day for 2 weeks, but he did not show the gratitude of a dog. At the end of that time I said: "I'm not going any more." That night when I put my little boys to bed, I did not pray for the miner, as I had accustomed to do. My little Charles noticed it and said: "Mamma, you did not pray for the bad man." "No," I answered with a sigh. "Have you given him up, Mamma?" "Yes, I guess so." "Has God given him up, Mamma." That night I could not sleep. "The man dying, and so vile, with no one to care!" I got up and went away to pray, but as my knees touched the floor I was overpowered by the sense of how defective had been my prayers. I had had no faith, and I had not really cared beyond a half-hearted sentiment. Oh, the shame of my missionary zeal! I fell on my face literally, as I cried: "Oh, Christ, give me the glimpse of the worth of a human soul." I stayed on my knees until Calvary became a reality to me. I cannot describe those hours. They came and went unheeded, but I learned that night what I had never known before, what it was to travail for a human soul. I saw my Lord that night as I had never seen Him before. The next morning brought a lesson in Christian work I had never learned before. I had waited on other days until the afternoon, when my work being all over, I could change my dress , put on my gloves, and take a walk while the shadows were on the hillsides. That day, the moment my little boys went off to school I left my work, and hurried over the hills, not to see "that vile wretch," but to win a soul. There was a human soul in the balance, and I wanted to get there quickly. As I passed on, a neighbor came out of her house and said: "I'll go over the hill with you I guess." I did not want her, but it was another lesson for me. God could plan better than I could. She had her little girl with her. As we reached the cabin she said: "I'll wait out here; you'll hurry, won't you?" I do not know what I expected, but the man greeted me with an awful oath. It did not hurt me as it did before, for I was behind Christ, and I stayed there. I could bear what struck Him first. While I was changing the basin of water and towel for him, things I had done for him everyday and which he had used but never thanked me for, the clear laugh of the little girl rang out upon the air like a bird's note. "What's that" said the man eagerly. "It's a little girl outside who is waiting for me." "Would you mind letting her in?"he said in a different tone from any I had ever heard before. Stepping to the door I beckoned to her, then taking her by the hand, said; "come in and see the sick man, Mamie." She shrank back as she saw his face and said; "I'se 'fraid." But I assured her with, "poor sick man! He can't get up, and he wants to see you." She looked like an angel, with her face framed in golden curls, her eyes tender and pitiful, and in her hand the flowers she had picked from the purple sage brush. Bending toward him she said; "I'm sorry for you sick man. Will 'ou have a posey?" He laid his great bony hand beyond the flowers on the plump hand of the child, and tears came to his eyes, as he said: "I had a little girl once, and she died." HEr name was Mamie, she cared for me. Nobody else did. 'Guess I'd been different if she'd lived. I've hated everybody since she died." I knew at once I had the key to the man's heart and the thought came quickly, born of that midnight prayer service. "When I spoke of your mother and wife you cursed them and I know now that they were not good women or you could not have done it." "Good women! Oh, you don't know about that kind of women. You can't think what they was." "Well, if your little girl had grown up with them wouldn't she have been like them? You wouldn't have liked to have her to live for that , would you?" He evidently had not thought of this, and his great eyes looked off for a full minute. As they came back to mine he cried: "Oh, no!no! I'd killed her first. I'm glad she died." Reaching out and taking the poor hand I said: "The dear Lord didn't want her to be like them. He loved her better than you did. So He took her away where she could be cared for by the angels. He is keeping her for you. Today she is waiting for you. Do you want to see her again?" "Oh, I'd be willing to be burned alive a thousand times over if I could just see my little gal once more, my little Mamie." Oh, what a blessed story I had to tell that hour, and I had been so close to Calvary that night I could tell it in earnest! The poor face grew ashy pale as I talked and the man threw up his arms as though his agony was mastering him. Two or three times he gasped as though losing his breath. Then clutching me he said: "What is that, woman, you said t'other day about talking to somebody out 'osight?" "Its praying. I tell God what I want." "Pray now! Pray quick! Tell him I want my little gal again. Tell Him anything you want to." I took the hands of the child and placed them on the trembling hand of the man. Then dropping on my knees, with the child in front of me, I bade her pray for the man who had lost his little Mamie and wanted to see her again. As nearly as I remember, this was Mamie's prayer: "Dear Jesus, this man is sick. He has lost his 'ittle girl, and he feels bad about it. I'se so sorry for him, and he's sorry too. Won't YOU help him, and show him where to find his 'ittle girl? Do, please. Amen." Heaven seemed to open before us. There stood One with the prints of the nails in His hands and the wounds in His side. Mamie slipped away soon, but the man kept saying: "Tell Him more about it, tell Him everything-- but, oh! you don't know." Then he poured out such a torrent of confession that I could not have born it but for the One that was close to us that hour, reaching out after that lost soul. It was the third day when the poor, tired soul turned from everything to Him, the mighty to save, "The Man that died for me." He lived on for 4 weeks, as if God would show how real was the change. I had been telling him one day about a meeting, and he said: "I'd like to go to a meetin' once. I never went to one of them things." So we planned a meeting, and the boys came from the mills and the mines, and filled the room. "Now boys" said he "get down on your knees while she tells about that Man that died for me." I had been brought up to believe that a woman shouldn't speak in meetings, but I found myself talking, and I tried to tell the simple story of the cross. After awhile he said, "Oh, boys, you don't half believe it, or you'd cry; you couldn't help it. Boys, raise me up. I'd like to tell it once over." So they raised him up, and between his short breathing and coughing, he told the story, and this, as well as I can recall, is a part of what he said: "Boys," he said "you know how the water runs down the sluice-boxes and carries off the dirt and leaves the gold behind. Well, the blood of that Man she talks about went right over me just like that; it carried off 'bout everything. But it left enough for me to see Mamie, and to see the Man that died for me. Oh, Boys, can't you love Him?" Some days after, I saw that the end was near, and as I left I said: "What shall I say tonight, Jack?" "Just 'good-night'" he said, " and when we meet again I'll say "good morning' up there." The next morning the door was closed, and I found two men sitting silently by a board stretched across two stools. They turned back the sheet, and I looked on the face of the dead, which seemed to have come back nearer to the "Image of God." "I wish you could have seen him when he went," they said. "He brightened up 'bout midnight, an' smiling said, I'm going, boys. Tell her I am going to see Mamie. Tell her I'm going to see the Man that died for me"; and he was gone. If this story has blessed you or if you have any questions, please e-mail us. We would be happy to hear from you. God bless you.
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This is a true story given by Mrs. J.K.Barney

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