UNDER SEALED ORDERS
The sight of two naval officers entering the Mission Church in Calcutta during the war was so unusual that it attracted every eye. Only front seats were vacant, but the uniformed men marched unhesitatingly forward and sat down.
After the service the minister asked those who wished to accept Christ to come forward and pray for salvation. The two officers instantly knelt and began praying earnestly. Evidently they knew what they were, doing, and meant business.
When they stopped praying, the pastor asked, “Is there anyone who wishes to testify that God has heard his prayer?”
Immediately the Senior Officer arose, saying: “Friends, I am the commander of a vessel which has Just reached Calcutta. One of our sailors, whom we call Buddy, is a Christian. He never hesitates to
talk to officers or men about Christ, and spends much time praying for their salvation. We used to think him crazy, and we made fun of him-even though we had genuine respect for him.
“Recently we were in the Bay of Bengal, headed for an unknown destination. At a designated spot I was to open my sealed orders. The Japs were destroying shipping in the Bay of Bengal and were threatening Calcutta, and no one knew where they would strike next.
“One day Buddy was praying for his shipmates. While praying he had a vision:-from the east flew a Jap bomber; right over us it dropped a bomb. Our ship blew up with all on board.
“In an agony, Buddy continued to plead, “Oh, God, you cannot allow the ship to sink now with my mates unsaved. I’ve prayed for them, and you must bear my prayer, for your Word promises It!”
While praying, Buddy seemed to hear a voice:
‘If you will persuade the Captain to stop the ship,I’ll save it.’
” ‘But, Lord, he’ll not listen to me. He’ll think I’m crazy.’
” ‘Get the Captain to stop the ship, and I’ll save it.’ the voice seemed to persist.
” ‘Lord, please save us anyway. You, know the Captain is under orders not to stop the ship. He’d never listen to me.’
” ‘Persuade the Captain to stop the ship, and I’ll save it,’ was the only reply Buddy got. Reluctantly. he decided to see me.
“Getting permission, he came to the bridge. After saluting, he said, ‘Sir, you know that I am a Christian, don’t you?’
” ‘Why Buddy, what’s the matter with you? We all know you are a Christian.’ ‘But, Sir. you know I’m a real Christian. don’t you? You know I always tell the truth and act my religion, don’t you?’ ‘Out with
it Buddy-what do you want? I know you never lie.’
“Then Buddy told me of his vision, and pleaded with me to stop the ship.
” ‘ Why, Buddy,’ I said, ‘that’s Impossible. My oath as an officer, my sealed orders – why! It’s unthinkable!’
“He argued with me passionately, and I must confess I was terribly impressed, but my orders gave me no alternative.
“Finally Buddy said, “Well, Sir, if a Jap plane comes toward the ship, will you stop It? If you stop it, God will save it.’ hi” ‘I can’t Promise, Buddy.’ I said as I dismissed him, ‘but I will keep it under
consideration.’ “Hardly had he gone before a plane was reported on the horizon. A few minutes later we saw it was a Jap bomber.
“I gave orders Immediately to reverse the engines, and come to a dead stop. I knew the ship would be a ‘sitting duck’ out there In the ocean, but something in my heart told me to obey, God rather than my superiors.
“This ship had hardly ceased moving when out of nowhere a mist began to gather. and an impenetrable fog surrounded us. You know what a miracle that is at this time of the year in the Bay of Bengal, where there is never a trace of fog.
“We heard the plane droning towards us, then passing directly overhead, and then disappearing toward the west. When the sound had ceased, the cloud lifted, and my fellow-officer and I dropped to our knees and promised that if God brought us safely to land, the first thing we would do would be to go directly to a church and accept Christ as our Savior, and give our lives to Him. That is why we came here tonight.”
My missionary friend is still In touch with that Captain, and knows he has been. true to his word. He has had to suffer: for his wife turned against him because he became a Christian.