We (Biblijski institut) continue to raise funds on Facebook to support our work in publishing. The “slogan” (I don’t know what else to call it) that I am using in the Facebook fundraising posts is about the power of the right book at the right time.
When I talk about the power of the right book at the right time, I am thinking of something like what John Wesley experienced.
Wesley was a devout, hardworking pastor and missionary who felt like a complete failure. His sense of guilt and hopelessness over his own spiritual health is expressed time and again in his diaries, etc.
For example, in January 1736 he wrote in his journal as he was going to Georgia (then a British colony) as a missionary among the native Americans, “I am going to Georgia to save the heathen. But who will save me?”
His experience in the colonies was his personal rock bottom. He returned to London a failed missionary, in his own eyes a complete failure.
But in May of that same year, Wesley attended a meeting of the Moravian society in Aldersgate Street, where he heard “the right book at the right time.” That evening, someone read aloud to the group from Luther’s preface to Romans (not Luther’s commentary, but a translation of the introduction to the epistle from Luther’s translation of the Bible.)
This was the turning point in Wesley’s life and ministry. The Holy Spirit, through Luther’s distillation of the gospel that night, broke the chains of guilt and self-loathing that had bound Wesley for decades. “The truth of the transforming power of Christ’s death and resurrection became real for Wesley …, and he found the assurance of faith for which he had been searching.”
Wesley’s famous description of the evening:
“About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”