The Narrow Road
to Life Eternal
(Translation of a testimony received in
Važec, Slovakia on September 27, 1996
during the ministry of brother Hanola.)
This pamphlet is not to be sold. It is solely for FREE and postpaid distribution. No funds or donations shall be solicited or expected from anyone. What shall alone be acceptable to the Father and us, are freewill cheerful offerings out of a pure heart. Such shall be acceptable and an official receipt for income tax purposes shall be issued in Canada or the United States, if desired.
The pamphlet is published without copyright (see Foreword) by:
Montreal Remnant Ministries
379 Wickham, St.Lambert, Que., Canada J4R 2B5
Correspondence may be mailed to the above address including requests for this pamphlet, questions, testimonies or comments. We will gladly minister to the hearts which truly seek the Lord and desire to be prepared for His Coming.
NOTE: Scripture references are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. No other version is used.
Printed in MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada.
F R I E N D,
This is a gift from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Head of His Church and of every Christian in all things.
If you have a friend, brother or sister who loves the Lord Jesus from a pure heart, share this gift with them. The Lord knows in whose hands His gift belongs, and He shall guide you.
We thank you on His behalf for your attention to His gift according to His desire and pleasure. In the Blessed Name of our Saviour and Lord and soon coming King, we remain
Yours in Him
brother H a n o l a
(on behalf of all in MRM)
This is not an evangelistic Ministry. We do not supply Bibles, Theology books, Concordances, Dictionaries, evangelistic tracts, or any other literature which the Lord has not granted us! We do not offer correspondence courses, degrees, financial support or sponsorship of any kind. Letters requesting above materials or services may not be answered.
Our calling is chiefly toward Overcomers in the Church, toward the Bride of Christ. Therefore, our material (which we freely distribute) is granted to us by the Lord for that chief purpose. The material (books, pamphlets) is limited in quantity and is not for every "interested reader"! We pray that it be distributed according to the Will of God, thus fulfilling His purposes. Amen.
The following testimony written by Erlo Stegen came into our hands on September 27, 1996 during the ministry of brother Hanola in Slovakia. It was received in the village of VaΩec in the form of a typewritten pamphlet in the Slovak language. After reading the testimony, we at MRM discerned it to be a true testimony and a "timely warning" from the Lord. We were prompted by the Spirit to translate it into English for publication so as to make it available to other brethren whose hearts are truly after the Lord and who truly desire to be prepared for His Coming.
To this date we have been unable to contact the writer in order to enquire about re-publishing the testimony in the English language. Since the original Slovak version had no copyright, therefore, we have taken the liberty in Christ, and being so led by His Spirit, translated and published this great testimony. We pray that it may bring its fruit to Christ and to those who walk on the "narrow road" or who are seeking it. Amen.
The Narrow Road to Life Eternal
In Matthew 7:13-14 we read the following words: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
In 1973, six years after a revival, a young co-worker named Lydia Dube from the tribe of Zulu got very sick. She was placed in a small hospital near the Mission station in Kwa Sizabantu (South Africa) where many were praying for her. All our prayers, however, did not seem to help. Her state was getting worse and worse. When I saw that this could not go on this way, I summoned her parents and advised them to take her to the doctors, since our prayers had not helped. (Later we could see that in this case we were dealing with the words of the Scripture saying that God does not always deal in accordance with our wishes, our requests or our minds.)
In advising Lydia's parents to consult doctors, I would like to underline that we are not against medical help, rather, we thank God that He gives doctors the ability and knowledge to help people in their physical sufferings. Lydia's parents asked me to accompany them. We immediately took Lydia to a specialist who examined her thoroughly and diagnosed a serious kidney disfunction; however, the prescribed medication had no effect. In addition, a second diagnosis revealed a serious illness, belchia, commonly spread within South Africa which required immediate hospitalization. Although her state improved for a short time, it then became worse than before. We tried other (higher) medical authorities. They further diagnosed a severe liver disfunction and prescribed medicine which, again, did not change her state.
In those days we went from one doctor to another and could not understand what was going on. Only later, after God completed His purpose did we understand why Lydia was suffering so much and why nothing had helped. Unfortunately, we humans are so short-sighted and blind that we are often unable to discern the Will of God in those things which are happening to us. It often appears to us as if surrounding circumstances are foolish, going "off track", painful and unrighteous. In such times of suffering, even despair, we cannot see the mighty hand of He Who knows and foresees everything.
Although we followed the doctors' advice and administered all the prescribed medication, we began to realize that not only was her state unimproving, but was getting worse. We brought her again to the hospital sensing an impending death. The specialists did not try to cover up her true condition and when Lydia was asked which hospital she would prefer, she pointed to the one in Kwa Sizabantu, adding that she would like to die among her closest ones should the Lord call her.
Since the hospital rooms were generally always full, we decided to place Lydia in our small house nearby, where we often assembled with co-workers for prayer and fellowship with the Lord. Soon thereafter we learned that whatever was happening to Lydia was not accidental, but that through her, God was "planning" to write for us a precious book of revelations.
In this small house by Lydia's bedside, some of her relatives and co-workers from the Mission tried to ease her torturous sufferings before her death. For several weeks she was unable to eat, suffered horrible pains, and drank very little. What was unusual to us was the fact that with the increased suffering and pain in her body, her inner spiritual life and contact with God was becoming more and more evident. For me, this was a great revelation of God, because in my practise I have experienced that as a patient's condition worsened, they became more and more agitated and unbearable. This, of course, brought joy to the devil and mourning to God. In the case of Lydia, it was exactly the opposite.
Whenever we saw her face reflect unusually strong pain, we quietly said one to another: "Now we have to pay close attention to what she will be saying! Now she will be teaching us deep truths revealed to her by the Lord." Then those sitting near her bed took notes of what her lips were uttering. During many days and nights, as if forgotten, she repeated: "Oh yes ... the road to heaven - it is not easy!" Thusly from time to time she whispered words about what she saw and we, almost breathless, were trying to listen to her words: "God showed me the way of faith, the way of God."
Dear friends! This unusual story is about a black girl to whom, just before her death, the Lord revealed two roads, and who, according to His Will, crossed the barrier of death and was brought back to life. I do not intend to just show you this miracle of God which took place here among us, even though it was a true miracle I also wish to underline that for me, and indeed for all of us here, it was a marvel which showed how a spiritually dead man is risen in Christ, risen from the horrible pit of sin and damnation.
I will not try to describe details of Lydia's death, even though I could foresee the same questions from your side, "How did she die? Was it a real death? Perhaps it was a lethargic dream? Was there a doctor present who could determine the death? Is there a chance of a resurrection in our days?"
I have no intention of persuading anyone about the reality of her death. Anyone may have their own opinion. I am just a living witness of what happened and would like to share with you what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. It is entirely your choice to believe or not.
What we heard from Lydia in those horrible and painful last days before her death reminded me of Psalm 24:3-6, and those urging commandments led me to Matthew chapter 7. It also reminded me of some portions from the book of John Bunyan, "The road of a Christian to his heavenly home", even though Lydia never read it or knew anything about it. The Lord had shown her two roads: the broad way and the narrow way. He had shown her their characteristics in a form of images so clear, that what she saw may help us all to see our own life through the eyes of God, to see our earthly walk in the light of eternity, and to determine what road we are really walking on.
The broad way that the girl saw was so broad and spacious, that whole groups of people could walk on it. There was so much space that everyone could walk freely, with all their possessions. A wife, a husband, children, next of kin, friends, and others could freely accompany them. It was not difficult to walk on that road. It was an easy and pleasant job. All opinions, human feelings, perceptions and circumstances were accepted. When, for example, you wanted to attend a church service, you could go there; or if you felt tired you could stay home. When you suddenly felt a headache coming on, you could leave the congregation and take a pleasant rest on a sofa, read a newspaper, listen to the radio, watch television, etc. (What is unusual in such circumstances is that the headache usually quickly disappear.) On the broad way everyone could take a slow walk, look around, or do other things. Nobody had to be watchful, or careful as to where they were stepping. While socializing, one could be so free as to jump and dance to his heart's content.
On this broad way one could pray if he so wished, or read a few verses or chapters from the Bible for his own satisfaction, and then put the Bible aside and look over some magazines or newspapers. It is the road suited for any request, taste or wish. While walking on this broad way, you can come home and become angry with your wife who had not prepared dinner the way you had expected; so you express to her your comments in a few "loving words," and then angrily leave the house, slamming the door shut. Then the same evening before you go to bed, you go to your knees and utter "a holy prayer" (we do pray before going to bed, don't we?), and then, disregarding your wife on her knees, jump noisily into bed, turning away from her. And the next morning, you are on your knees again, and it's off to work with anger in your heart against your "unintelligent" wife.
Yes, yes! On the broad way it is possible to freely harbour insult, evil and anger in the heart, and one may even gossip openly and accuse! It is not necessary to forgive! It is possible to have anything in the heart and carry it all within you! On this road it is possible to offend or argue with your neighbour by really "giving it to him", or by "telling him everything that you think about him", and with a peaceful conscience go to church, not even thinking about "making peace" (or repenting)! So the broad way shown to Lydia was very broad. The possibilities on it were endless. There were as many as you wished, even for those who called themselves "the children of God." It would be interesting to see how broad is the way on which you are walking, my dear friend!
Lydia saw one man walking on this road looking very happy and joyful. He had just had a glass of red wine and was singing and dancing, and in a very good mood. When asked: "Where are you going?" he answered without hesitating: "What do you mean where? Don't you see? To heaven, of course! I am simply not as fanatical and narrowminded in my opinions as others are!" Then turning around and seeing another man, who while engaged in spiritual battles was trying to find another way, began to advise him: "Tell me, which scripture did you take so seriously as to be so disturbed? Why take everything so deeply into your heart? See and believe that you are exaggerating and your fears will look almost funny! We are all feeble people and sinners! God loves us, even as we are! Therefore came He into the world to forgive us our sins!" Behold, thus was he assuring the man who was walking nearby, gesturing with his hands, trying to prove his truth, when suddenly at his feet the earth opened up into a great and deep abyss, and he fell into it with a heart-rending cry, "Woe is me! I have wasted my whole life! Where do I now find Jesus?!" Despair and repentance was heard in that horrible cry, but it was too late to undo anything. His hope ended up in that abyss and thus he entered into eternity.
Many of those who walked this broad way thought that by walking on it they would end up in heaven, even though they did what they wanted in their lives. There were also many who prayed and were showing off their blessings. Others were demonstrating their human generosity and moral standards with a sense of their own dignity, as if they were slowly moving forward. You name them, everybody was on this road! People of all colors and nationalities! Representatives of all groups and ranks. Doctors, judges, preachers and teachers, salesmen and thieves, philosophers and theologians, ministers and ordinary workers. Everyone was satisfied with himself, believing that everything in his life was all right. Some of them, after looking aside, caught a glimpse of another road in the distance and said: "No! That road is too narrow! It is extremely hard, cruel, and stony! It requires a lot of effort to walk on it. Why shouldn't we stay on our road when we could reach our destiny either way?"
Close to the basic mass of people walking on the broad way was another group of people who did not want to go along with the mass as they did not agree with some worldly things which were manifested in their lives. The people belonging to this group were looking for another way, but they were not finding any. Turning here and there, they were going astray right next to the narrow way. They did not see it because they were spiritually blinded. The cause of their blindness was not revealed to the dying girl.
This is how the broad way was shown to Lydia. How different was the narrow way! It was so narrow that only two people could walk thereon! Only two! Not more and not less! And these two were - the one who found and chose to walk on this road and the Lord Jesus. On this road a husband could not walk beside his wife, nor a wife beside her husband. Parents could not walk with their children, nor the children with their parents. Everyone had to decide for himself whether to walk on this road or not; and if they decided to walk on it, it was with the Lord Jesus.
This road was similar to a narrow mountain road which is cruelly steep toward the peak. It was not only extremely narrow, but also stony and thorny. There are many mountains on this earth, but as Lydia was saying, there is none so high and inaccessible as the mountain of God! The ascent is so difficult that no man is able to reach the peak while trusting in his own powers. It is only possible with the supporting power of the Lord and with His strength. Otherwise it is impossible!
Describing this, Lydia emphasized the fact that no man can even dream of walking on this road and ascending the mount of God if he is double-hearted trying to serve both God and the devil. It is not even possible for someone who does not take matters seriously, who is frivolous, thoughtless, takes things lightly, and serves God as just a habit, a law or a tradition. For such people there is no chance to ascend this mount of God and obtain blessings and grace.
The narrow way veers off the broad way and starts with a very narrow gate that one has to pass through. This gate was so narrow and obscure, that anyone near it who was not watching and praying could very easily bypass it. That is why among the many people, there were only a few who found it. As you can see, we must carefully seek the narrow way to salvation until we find it. Behold, anyone who is indifferent or superficial in matters of faith, bypasses the narrow gate without even noticing it. Only those who are truly seeking it, who watch and pray, are able to find the narrow gate, pass through, and step on the narrow road.
It is truly difficult to describe how narrow this road really is. It is literally like a thin thread! It is only possible to walk on it with great carefulness, step by step, and more importantly stepping into the footprints of the Lord. On either side, there is a steep slope, and a deep abyss. It is a very difficult road with many dangers. When one looked high up to the top, it was possible to see that someone was standing on the very peak of the mount. It was He Who was Crucified! Stretching forth His hands toward the coming pilgrims, He was graciously inviting them: "Come up here! Come to Me!" But it was only he who had not given up and was walking up all the way, ever fighting and overcoming who could ascend the mount of God and stand in front of the Majesty of God.
As I was saying, it was impossible for anyone to walk on the narrow road alone; only with the Lord Jesus! Not one step without Him! Without Him it was impossible to do or achieve anything! Everything must be done with Him. Lions were also running to and fro on this road eating only human flesh. Their intention was to devour as many people walking on this road as possible, and the only rescue from them was being in close proximity to Jesus and dwelling in Him. Only then could the lions not hurt or devour you.
Peculiar images were appearing before the dying Lydia's eyes. At one moment she saw two women clothed in white dresses similar to those worn in monasteries. On the narrow road they met the Lord Who asked them:"Tell me, where are you going?" "To heaven," they answered unanimously. Jesus held a Book in His hands, and when He read from it, everyone who was on the narrow road could clearly see their own state, how and where they were going, and what end was waiting for them. Turning toward the women Jesus said: "I see that you washed your garments in My blood. However, why have you not done it properly? Look here! Do you see the stains on your garments?" Because of those dark stains, the women could not continue on the narrow road and had to return.
One young man was also ascending along the narrow road. Jesus said to him: "I remember the day when I invited you for the first time to come, and you had accepted that invitation and received Me into your heart. But look at your foot! What do you see on it?" The young man looked and only then noticed a long thin thread running from his ankle, joining him with another man who he knew before. "Do you remember," continued Jesus, "that when you repented, you did not tell your friend that you came to know Me and that you desired to clean up your life. You sinned with him in those days! Together you were in unclean places doing this and that. After receiving Me, you had not gone to him and 'straightened' those matters out; thereby breaking this sinful connection with him. Even now, he knows you as you were before." Therefore, because of this connection, the young man could not continue to walk further in his spiritual life and had to return from the narrow road.
After that, another image was shown to Lydia which was no less heart-rending. A man was going along the narrow road carrying a sack of flour. It was not pure flour, but rather a mixture of flour and sugar. Suddenly, the Lord stopped him and said: "And now divide the flour from the sugar! In your Christian life you mixed this and that which I will not suffer. Now, therefore, divide it." Seeing that it was impossible to do, the man cried in fear: "Oh Lord! How can I do it now?" The Lord answered: "Not I, but you alone had done it, therefore, how you were mixing, so now also divide!"
Surely you will ask: "Friends, what does this mean?" Don't you see that when we, calling ourselves the children of God, start to mix Christianity with the world, God cannot suffer it? Living here on earth, we somehow try to mix our Christian life with the deeds of this world, hence we should not forget that the day is coming when the Lord will turn to us and tell us exactly the same thing: "And now divide one from the other!" We will then have to admit that we have committed intolerable errors that cannot be corrected.
I will continue to share as follows. The voice of Lydia became so weak from time to time that we had to press our ears to her lips to catch a quiet, broken, scarcely perceivable whisper. At times, an expression of painful effort could be seen on her face. We understood that during those moments of spiritual revelations, she was experiencing difficulties in ascending the narrow path. "Lord Jesus," she whispered, "please, help me now! Oh, don't leave me! Be beside me because it is so difficult for me to go!"
Later, in moments of relief, while Lydia was walking on the narrow path, she told us how she entered a very large and dark forest. What a horrible dark cloud was over it! She could not understand why so many people could live in such a dark forest. Interestingly enough, every inhabitant of the forest possessed some "thing," or an instrument with which they were very busy. One held a radio in his hands, always turning the volume to the maximum so that it roared. Another was playing a tape recorder. Another was sitting in front of a television completely absorbed in what was on the screen. Another was constantly playing a guitar. Thus were they all absorbed in their own thing or instrument trying to generate the most noise in order to drown each other out. Thus each tried to draw attention to himself. Seeing the girl who had stopped in her walk, they all started to call on her.
"Come here for a minute," one cried, "look what is on TV! Oh, there is no need to be so fanatical and so serious toward such things." "No!" Lydia refused categorically, "I am on the way to the Heavenly City!" "Well, I am also trying," the man with the TV continued,"do you really think that I have a different goal? I too, as you, am on the way to Heaven. Come here and see what they are showing. These are truly things without offence. A very good film, and even useful. Look! Don't be so limited and narrow-minded in your understanding!" "No! I do not want to!" Lydia refused the temptation with even greater determination.
In the dark forest there was a great number of young people dressed so indecently as only the world could allow. There were also married women whose clothing was so inappropriate that one could ask what their husbands were doing to suffer such a thing? It was clear that they were the same as their wives. And among these so called Christians there were those who committed the same sins as Lydia had before she believed. All of them cried to her that this was not so bad, and even in the eyes of God it was not really a sin. Many of these loud voices and thunderous music deafened Lydia so much that she turned her eyes toward Heaven and cried: "Lord! Help me! Tell me what to do now?"
"One thing will help you," she heard an answer, "cover your ears with your hands and look at Me in this darkness." Following this advice, the girl suddenly saw a ray of light in the distance, and went toward it with all her being, sensing the help and nearness of God. This is how she crossed the dark forest; paying no more attention to the people dwelling therein.
She barely left the forest when she saw a group of young men. When they saw her, they began to call to her waving their hands. Some of them came near to her and tried all kinds of ways to woo her, competing with each other. "No!" said Lydia refusing their play, "I am going to the Lord and thus I cannot look left or right. It is a great danger for me to be occupied with you and lose Christ from my eyes! This road is very narrow and I do not want to go astray!" When the young men saw that she did not want to pay attention to them, they did not want to let her go, and they ran after her and tried to get her at any cost. When Lydia saw the danger of her situation she prayed and cried to the Lord: "Lord Jesus! I pray You grant me the strength to escape from them! Grant that they would not catch me." In that moment when she tried to run with all her strength, a flock of chickens with their young appeared at her feet. "What shall I do now?" she thought in fear. "If I run I will certainly crush them with my feet." And the voice of God came to her as if to answer her thoughts: "Run, don't turn back! Do not regard the chickens. Go ahead, no matter what is happening; otherwise you will lose your life."
Hearing this voice, Lydia clenched her teeth and rushed ahead. The young men were not far behind. At that moment Lydia noticed a big faithful dog at her side. (I would like to say that a pictorial language with various comparisons is very much characteristic for the Zulu tribe. The Lord Jesus Christ also used comparisons and parables whenever He spoke. If a man is able to understand this type of language, it is a good sign that points to the readiness of the refined ear of a heart.) When Lydia directed the dog toward the young men, they stopped pursuing her. When we asked Lydia about the significance of the dog, she answered without thinking: "Have you forgotten that Jesus repelled the attacks of satan with the faithful Word of God? Satan cannot stand against It!" Hence my friends, if you desire to get rid of people who are a temptation to you, use the Word of God. Tell them: "Thus says the Bible!"
Having lost the young men from her sight, she continued walking. Suddenly, an unusual picture unfolded before her: there were many houses built along the narrow road by those who had at one point walked on it. It was interesting to see that people not only lived in those houses, but kept all kinds of domestic animals and fowl, which were obstacles for others walking on the narrow path. The pilgrims needed only to be careless and to not watch, and they would stumble over these animals and fall. And as if that was not enough, the house dwellers also built other obstacles on the road, with one goal in mind - to hinder those who were determined to go on this road to the end. There was a time when these people once walked this narrow road, however, they themselves got tired, stopped and decided that they were fully satisfied with what they had achieved. Thus they built those houses along the narrow road so they could spend a pleasant and peaceful life there, even knowing that they were obstacles to those who were determined to continue to the end of the road, to full victory, even if it might cost them their lives!
Continuing on her way, Lydia entered another forest which was even bigger and darker than the first one. The cloud was so dark that she could not see her own hand. Suddenly it was revealed to her that the road she was walking on began branching off into various directions. She painfully peered into the darkness and saw that she stood at the foot of many crossroads. She had to decide which one to follow. Again she felt powerless and called on God:"Lord help me! Tell me what to do now?" Here, she remembered that beforehand, the Lord had told her: "My child, just go ahead, turn neither left nor right. There, ahead I am waiting for you!" Being comforted by these words she began to beg: "Oh, Heavenly Father! Lead me now toward the right road! I ask You in Your Name to help me in this, according to Your great Grace!" Directed by this prayer she stepped on one of the roads and, after continuing on it, saw many pilgrims walking on the other roads.
She noticed that from the beginning all of the roads appeared to be going in one direction. However, as they continued deeper into the forest, they started to turn, forming a big circle. Pilgrims walking on these roads were getting locked into circles and could not extricate themselves from the darkness of that forest. (Thus the Christians who, in their lives and service to the Lord, had remained continuously in one place were revealed to Lydia. They did not grow spiritually and, as it were, "were cooking themselves in their own juice." It appears to them that they are walking and walking, but in reality they are walking in circles not progressing even one step.) Remaining in the dark cloud, these people were saying one to another:"We have everything we need, therefore, we have to be satisfied with what we have!" It was also interesting to note that the people walking on these roads talked a great deal. Everyone wanted to give their opinion, or were rushing to give advice to help others. Similarly, as a mother with a sick child is counselled: "Do this... try that...", so also they tried to outdo one another with their counselling to the point where the poor mother does not know what to do.
Being confused by these many voices and counsels, understandings and debates, Lydia got scared and began to pray: "Lord! Teach me how to proceed." She heard an answer: "Cover your ears with your hands so as not to hear! Make yourself deaf to all these voices and do not lose sight of your final goal!" Oh, how happy she was when she obeyed this counsel and found herself again in the vicinity of the Lord, Who led her out of the dark cloud of the forest.
The next obstacle in her way was an unbelievably steep and stony slope. To climb straight up was impossible. She had to climb on her knees pulling herself up slowly, grasping at stones with her hands. The path was becoming steeper and steeper. It required more and more strength so that after some time, she was exhausted and lied face down on the stones. After a brief rest, she started again, sighing and in pain hauling herself up yet another steep part. During these moments, the face of the dying girl expressed an unbelievably difficult effort, as if culminating the highest peak.
Then a cry of great astonishment came out of her cracked lips: "In truth, it is the preacher!" and again a torturous fight. We felt that at any moment her last strength would perish. For those of us, sitting at her bedside, those moments seemed like an eternity. Suddenly her face lit up and the following quiet cries reached our ears: "Oh Lord! Thank You! You took me out of the pit of damnation when there was no apparent hope! Jesus, You saved me! Your hand upheld me near the very abyss. I had no more strength. I had lost all of my courage and hope. And now I am so happy and joyful that I could fly. Oh, how beautiful everything is around me now. How much light! Everything is so green and budding!"
What Lydia survived was a great miracle for her. She faced the impossible, but the Lord Jesus had helped her in those last desperate minutes and a miracle took place!
Yet, this was not the end. Revelations continued. Having relaxed a little, Lydia ended up on a very dangerous part of the road which was as smooth and as slippery as ice. Any careless step could cause her to fall into the abyss. At this point it was impossible to go any other way except to follow in the Lord's footprints! And exactly so, step after step ... footprint after footprint... Lydia's foot was stepping exactly into the footprints of the Lord Jesus! She had not slipped and could stand firmly. If her foot missed His footprint even in the slightest, she would begin loosing her balance and would start to slip and fall. In addition, lying along this path were sharp stones which had been sharpened by someone. When one stepped on them they were as sharp as knives cutting bloody wounds into a person's foot. Therefore, there was just one possibility - to step exactly into the footprints of the Lord Jesus. Wherever His foot stepped the stones would fall apart.
This road was also covered with thorns which mercilessly needled the body. However, when the foot of Jesus stepped over them, they began to disappear. Behold, how pleasant and easy it was to walk following the Lord, stepping into His footprints and thus avoiding the manifold wounds. During such a mutual walk, one could not go faster or slower than the Lord. There were moments when Christ would stop and stand in one place for a long time. Then whoever was following Him would also have to stop and stand as well. If a man were in a hurry and wanted to go on ahead he had to wait patiently until the Lord made His next step.
There were great flat boulders on both sides of the path and along its very edge from place to place. They were a great danger for the tired pilgrims. Greatly grieved by the difficulties which they overcame one by one, they desired to rest. "No ... this is beyond my abilities! I just simply cannot go on now! I have no more strength. I desperately need to rest!" Their eyes spotted the boulders which were just right to stretch out on and fall asleep. But woe unto the traveler who would succumb to this temptation and approach any boulder to rest on. The boulder, not being anchored to the ground, moved from its place and rolled onto the slope, falling into the same horrible abyss, taking along its unfortunate victim.
There was only one rock able to give peace and rest to any pilgrim and that Rock was Jesus Christ! Although all of the other rocks appeared to be solid foundations, they were dangerous for those walking on this road.
Finally, Lydia came out to a great plain. Very far ahead on a raised place, almost on the very horizon, was a beautiful city. Fascinated by its beauty the girl stopped as if grounded. At that moment, and totally unexpectedly, an angel in a light garment stood right in front of her pointing to the visible city in the distance. He asked her: "Do you see the city?" "Yes." "Now I would like to show you the kind of past that would prevent you to enter in." Soon thereafter Lydia got a chance to see the lives of various people in an unusual way.
First, a nice house appeared before her whose landlady was at home. The girl could see how the landlady came to the window and through the curtain saw another woman coming to her house. "Oh, she is coming to see me again," she thought in anger. "I am tired of all her accusations, problems and needs. She is really getting on my nerves!" The bell rang and the landlady put on a mask of kindness and good-heartedness and rushed toward the door. Having opened the door she chirped, "Good morning dear sister! How good that you came! How are you? Please, come in. I am glad you have come!"
"Do you see this?" the angel said turning to Lydia. "Be aware that by living this kind of life it is impossible to enter the heavenly city because there is no place therein for hypocrites!"
Then another picture appeared before the girl's eyes. She saw an empty black coffin with three people around it. They were trying to put others into the coffin and close the cover. Explaining the scenery, the angel said to Lydia: "Look and remember forever - never try to put any soul into a coffin prematurely, because such an attitude does exist among Christians, and it is to their shame. When somebody sins they rush to "write him off," and to bury him as soon as possible, stating that for him there is no more hope! He fell quite low and cannot be forgiven! Some of these judges do nothing else but "write others off" deciding their destinies. But you should fear such things for the wrath of God burns on such people! The Lord God is Almighty! He is strong even to raise the dead to a new life. When somebody sins, be fearful of becoming malicious! Also, guard yourself against becoming his judge! Do not go to anyone to tell him about the sin of others! Rather, bow down to a fervent prayer for the soul that sinned. Stand in the gap and fight the devil, and beg the Heavenly Shepherd to find and return the lost sheep to Himself. Who are you to decide the destiny of others? Jesus shed His blood equally for you and that sinner. He gave the last drop for him. Who are you to say in arrogance: "It is finished for him? He died to God! There is no hope for him!" How is it possible for anyone to throw such words into the face of Him Who can raise the dead? Pray that the Lord would bring him to repentance, and rejoice greatly with the angelic host if the sinner had repented and returned to the feet of the Saviour. If you will not do this then watch that you yourself would not face the same horrible destiny which you prescribed to others, and thus carry the reward deserved by your brutality. Or have you forgotten what the Word of God says to such: "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy;...""(Jam. 2:13).
Another vision appeared to Lydia. A man walking on the narrow road lost his Bible. Somebody stopped him and told him to return because without his guide, which is the Holy Bible, he cannot continue. It was clear to Lydia that this vision was a warning to every Christian who scorns reading and learning from the Bible. In the eyes of the Lord such a person is inconsiderate, spiritually lazy, and in danger of losing the whole weapon of God.
After her encounter with the angel, Lydia continued on the narrow road and soon hit another obstacle. Straight in front of her there were two parallel wires with a mesh in between. There were no other means left to the pilgrims except to bend down to their knees, lie on the ground, cleave to it as close as possible, and crawl under the bottom wire. Such a step was unbelievably difficult for many pilgrims walking on the narrow road. Some were not able to bend down. Others had arthritis-like pains in their joints; hence, at any small bowing they cried with pain. Well, you know how it is with a sick man. Sometimes he begins to cry even before you touch him! Hence, do not touch him - for he is becoming sensitive! (I hope, dear friends, that you understand the kind of spiritual "sensitivity" which is implied here. Surely you have met such Christians to whom you cannot say anything. The slightest mention of something offends them! You immediately cause them pain and the poor soul is wounded on the spot!)
Some pilgrims were so tall and fat that they could not bend down, and when they tried it, they fell to the ground and could not stand up again. The reason was, of course, that they were too big and too tall. (It just so happens that Christians grow incredibly fast in their own eyes and are even supported by the opinions of others.) Some of those who faced the wire obstacle said: "Well, in order to overcome this obstacle one has to be in the right shape. Hence, it is imperative to exercise!" (Unfortunately they did not understand that the exercise was necessary beforehand and not now, when it was too late.) Many of them kept trying to crawl under the wire, yet they only succeeded to get their head to the other side. Their bodies could not get under. Thus the head was through, but the body was stuck, and the man stayed there as if nailed to the ground. Of course, with the head the tongue also got through, but woe, there was no way through for the rest of the body. Hence, there was no other way except to bow down deeply, ever deeper, and be pressed toward the ground with the face and the whole body, creeping under the wire. Lydia went exactly the same way.
Soon thereafter she came to an unusual control station where the pilgrims were passing through the final checkpoints before entering the Heavenly dwelling. The station was surrounded by quite a high wall, and the only entrance was the door to a big house which joined the wall. The oncoming pilgrims formed a long line in front of the door. Some of them had no desire to wait, so they tried to scale the wall or find another door or entrance. Of course, they did not succeed, so they finally stepped into the line in order to pass through the door of the control station.
It is interesting to note that the door was also unusual. It was a certain height so that when a very tall man tried to bow and enter, he could not because his neck was not flexible. At the same time, another man who was very small compared to the height of the door came to the door and could also not pass through to get inside. (I do hope, dear friends, that you can easily understand this spiritual truth which is clearly based on the above. If not, then take the Bible and read the following: "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city..." (Rev. 22:18-19). For a Christian, there is a certain height and a certain spiritual standard established by the Word of God that could be understood without difficulties should we read, for example, the book of Ephesians.)
If someone did succeed and entered through the door to find himself inside the house, there, to his surprise, he would find doctors, nurses and judges conducting their tasks very seriously and consistently. They were taking people without prejudice and not looking at their faces. They did not take into account their debts, their previous state, or other previous merits. It was not important to them whether a man was rich (be it physical or spiritual) or poor, whether he was a preacher, a pastor, or an ordinary member of a congregation. Every one without exception had to go through this very strict medical examination during which nothing, however small, was left out.
First there was a thorough eye examination. They were diagnosed as being either healthy or sick; for example, a jealous eye, a fleshly eye, a spiritually blinded eye, etc. (Mk. 7:22, Jn. 12:40, 1Jn. 2:16). Then the tongue and the mouth were examined in the light of the Holy Scripture (Pr. 6:16-17, Jam. 1:26, 1Pet. 3:10, 1Jn. 3:17-18). Woe to the man who was found sick! Next the hands were examined very closely whether they were clean or had filthy stains (Is. 1:15 + 59:3, 1Tim. 2:8). And then the heart was subjected to especially close scrutiny (Pr. 6:14 + 16:5, Mat. 5:8, Lk. 21:34, Rom. 1:21,24, Jam. 4:8). At the same time, blood samples were taken for examination. We all know that there are many sicknesses of the blood. Christians also have these sicknesses (spiritually) which are found directly in the blood. Let us take, for example, the lusts of the flesh and anger, which manifest themselves right from birth (Heb. 12:4). Then they began to examine the kidneys and other inner organs (Rev. 2:23). If the result of the examination showed that a man was not healthy, a decision was announced that he cannot ascend the mount of God to obtain grace and blessing. He that underwent the examination with success and was found worthy to ascend the mount was sent to a great sporting field with long lanes to run in. Lydia also went through the examinations successfully. She found herself on the sporting field and was told: "Now run! But not just to get to the finish line but to come in first and receive the reward!" (1Cor. 9:24, 2Tim. 2:5). Whoever was unable to run giving all of their strength could not continue on the narrow road. Those who received the reward could ascend to the peak of the mount of God. In that Holy Place they could come before the Majesty of God and receive blessing and righteousness. Only such were considered to be those who were "seeking Him - seeking the face of the God of Jacob." (Ps. 24:3,5,6).
By the Grace of God, Lydia even passed through this test. However, the testing of the main point of examination was not finished as yet. People of various professions: theologians, teachers, doctors, judges, military men, salesmen, clerks, managers and ordinary workers - all came before the controlling commission, whose chairman was "Some One clothed in a white garment with a golden girdle." (Rev. 1:13). In the light of eternity and in the light of the judgment of God, all of their deeds which were done in their work or service were uncovered. A pastor of a certain congregation was called first. At that same moment the whole congregation to whom he preached during his life appeared before him. And lo, the preacher was told: "And now preach!" When he obeyed and started to preach, the Book was opened and his words were compared to those that were found in the Book. When the preacher said anything which was not in the Book or in agreement with the notes in the Book, a remark was immediately made: "Not right." In addition, his own life was also compared with what he was preaching. The words which he spoke to others were also compared with his life, his behaviour at home, his family, and his work.
While the preacher was being examined, the light of God went over and lit the members of the congregation, so all which was covered and secret with each member was now seen clearly. Covered sins were uncovered, secret thoughts and intentions were also uncovered, and the reactions of Christians to this or that were also seen clearly. The thoughts of man and all that is hidden to the fleshly eyes was now possible to read on the bosom of everyone as in an open book. For example, one man was sitting in the congregation and his mind was day-dreaming. A second one was nervously looking at his watch, saying to himself in anger: "When is he finally going to finish the sermon! It is time to stop!" A third one, hearing the accusing words of the preacher, protested with indignation in his heart saying: "No! I just cannot listen to this! What does he want from us? This really does it!" The forth one sitting in the back pew was "picking his nose" and dropping his head lower and lower, literally falling asleep. All that was taking place there was recorded in the Book, which will become the deciding document in the Day of Judgment, when everyone will have to give his account.
After that, people of various occupations started coming before a committee. Teachers had to give account of whether they used their authority properly or not, whether they had negatively affected their student’s spirits or not. Doctors were being asked if they were, in fact, merciful, truly compassionate, kind, and noble with respect to their patients; doing everything in their power for them. All verdicts, judgments, and conclusions of the earthly judges were examined with a microscope as to whether they overstepped their rights and judged accordingly or not. If the judgment of a judge was found to be unrighteous in the eternal light, then that person was taken aside. When the time came for the accounts of sales people, merchants, and a variety of workers, a lot of incredible deceitfulness, dishonesty, and fraud, both big and small, was uncovered. Unawareness, laziness, a lot of robbery, stealing, and a variety of speculations were exposed. Running away or hiding from the eternal light was not possible.
Lydia was not shown what happened to those people whose professional accounts did not pass through this committee. Maybe we shall find out in eternity. The most incredible thing is that these people had already been, as Lydia, on the true narrow path for quite some time, having previously overcome many difficulties and obstacles. Is it not true that there is something here to meditate on and even something fundamental to review and re-establish?
Difficulties, tests, and the last examinations of the main control station were behind us. Lydia was getting closer to her finish line. Suddenly, a group of people wearing white gowns appeared. They were holding hands as they were coming closer to her. The leader stood out from the others with an extraordinary light shining from his gown. In one hand he held a Book. All the others were following him as soldiers - bold and determined. This group’s work was to gather together all those who had successfully passed all the examinations. They were not forcing anyone. These bright beings were calling loudly:“Who wants to come with us?”
Lydia placed herself last in their line and followed them. After a little while, they came across a truly beautiful place. The leader called everyone to prayer. Everyone had to bring their desires and requests before the Lord. Lydia noticed that everyone was no longer thinking about earthly things in their prayers. All of their desires were directed towards the future and hearts were filled only with the Lord’s Will. Lydia prayed to the Heavenly Father: “Lord, enable me to be faithful in what You have determined for me, that I may perform every word You will command me to do!” The girl herself did not realize what she was asking for; thereby reflecting the unawareness of a Higher Calling (Will). During her prayer, the leader was recording everything in his Book. Amidst this group, Lydia recognized two people from her tribe. This act of recognition was somewhat extraordinary for Lydia. She knew these people, and like herself, knew they belonged to a Zulu tribe yet their faces were so changed that she could not recognize them. All of this is very difficult to explain in words; nevertheless, everything that Lydia went through clearly shows that aside from an earthly manner of life, there exists yet another. It is a truly new manner of existence and mutual contact which is incomprehensible to the human mind.
As Lydia was approaching the Heavenly City, precious truths were being revealed to her one after another. They can be excellent lessons for us. For example, she was told the following:
"Now you are entering a City in which no one can enter unless their sins are forgiven. In this City, everyone lives in complete harmony, praising and glorifying only the Lord Christ Jesus. Strictly those who were faithful to Christ, and who, in everything, were following Him, can live here. Such people who spoke of the sins of others, judged them, and had not repented while they were living on earth, could not enter in. Whosoever wants to enter into the Heavenly City must have had obeyed the Lord’s calling. Whosoever wants to step into Paradise must have had acknowledged Christ’s Will as governing his own while on earth. When the Lord would for some reason reject one’s wish, then that person must have been ready to reject it also, and when the Lord would bless something, then that person must have also blessed it. Neither a hypocrite nor a proud person may enter into the Heavenly City of our Lord and King."
Although Lydia had heard much more, she was unable to remember everything; nevertheless, what we had received was already enough. We should direct the question in Rev. 6:17 to ourselves as well, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Meanwhile, Lydia reached her finish line. A brightly shining angel stood at the gateway of Paradise and stretched out his hand to her. At that moment those around Lydia’s bed heard her shout: “An angel is standing there! He is calling me in! Can’t you see him? He’s still standing there...” Those were her last words. She then closed her eyes and became quiet. Her breathing stopped and her pulse was no more. Her lips and the end of her fingers were turning blue. Lydia was dead. She died on April 8, 1973, at 15:00 hrs. Her friends kneeled beside her bed crying and praying. Clearly they were not praying for her resurrection. They were not even thinking about that. They were simply praying: “Dear Lord, she was an incredible help to us, who will fill this emptiness, who will take her place?”
One of Lydia’s relatives brought Lydia’s burial clothes. Her body was washed and prepared for burial. The funeral was supposed to take place the following morning. That evening everyone left; yet, there was a light on in Lydia’s room where she was still lying. One of our colleagues, a black woman, wanted to stay with the deceased until morning. It was very late at night when the miracle took place. Lydia suddenly moved in her bed, and then lifted herself and sat up. “My, it is so dark here,” she exclaimed, looking around rather perplexed. “Everything here is so dirty and dim! And those filthy walls!” she said. She explained to us later, after her return to earth, that everything seemed so dirty and dark compared to what she saw in Paradise. Turning to her colleague, Lydia asked for something to eat and drink. This is after the fact that during the past ten to fifteen days she was unable to put anything into her mouth. After she finished eating and drinking she stood up from the bed and walked around the room. This was such a happy feeling for her; particularly after being confined to a bed for so long, and being able to walk again. Her strength quickly returned. She had no more physical pain; in fact, she felt quite healthy.
At this point I would like to share with you Lydia's account of what happened when the angel appeared. At that moment when the angel stretched out his hand, he took her and she felt some type of shock in her body. That was the spirit leaving the earthly body. The first person she met in Paradise was Christ Jesus Himself Who greeted her. Lydia saw a lot of people in bright shining gowns. She received the exact same type of gown. Although there was no sun or any other source of light, the Heavenly City was filled with a beautiful indescribable light. Jesus Himself was the Light that was penetrating everything and was uncovering things that regular people cannot see. The Light coming out of Jesus was neither waning nor dawning, which is why there was no more night. There was also no great heat or cold. The people surrounding Lydia were taken from all the earth’s countries, and from the widest variety of languages. They could understand each other; speaking beautiful sounding dialects that everyone who stepped into this City understood. Various races and skin colours did not exist there. There was no difference in opinions or views. Everyone was in union. An indescribable harmony ruled there, and a heavenly peace brought everyone together. Amidst these heavenly inhabitants there was no difference between man or woman; everyone was of the same gender. It was a new and unknown way of life that Lydia was unable to describe. When the Lord was on earth He said, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). The inhabitants of the Heavenly City were living beautifully, their houses and dwellings were indescribable, which reminds me of Christ’s Word in John 14.2, “In My Father’s house are many mansions...” In the center of the City there was an enormous hall with a magnificent Throne, and on it sat the magnificent Lamb, the Lord Christ Jesus in all His majestic Glory. The Lord’s face shone so brightly, described Lydia, that it was blinding, and no one could look directly at Him. Everyone lowered their eyes and kneeled before Him saying: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3). Everything was filled with the singing of heavenly hosts. There are no earthly words that can describe heavenly things.
After the song, the Lord started to invite everyone to Him. He gave everyone three fruits resembling grapes. Even Lydia received these fruits. When she ate them, she felt an unknown influx of strength inside. True love ruled among the people living in the Heavenly City. Everyone was considerate and respectful towards one another. The attitude toward both adults and children was the same. People were not speaking at the same time. There was no hustle and bustle. Peace and God’s tranquillity ruled everywhere. Everyone’s thoughts and desires were directed toward the Throne. Everyone paid attention to what Jesus was saying. No one went their own way anymore. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the One Who sat on the Throne. His Glory was so great that everything that had happened to them on earth was forgotten. Tears, sadness, sorrow, suffering, and offenses were no more.
Suddenly the Lord called Lydia and said: “Your friends on earth are crying after you. I want to send you back.” Even though she was very comfortable in Paradise, she did not resist the Lord’s Will in any way. As before, she was ready to fulfill His Will and was ready to go, even so now, but with one request beforehand: “If I’m to go once again back to earth, then please do not allow anything to come between us that would divide us. Even if the smallest of sins would enter my heart and life, then with your love and grace please show it to me so that I could straighten things out as soon as possible. Grant me to be joined with You on earth, as I am now joined with You in heaven.”
Before Lydia left the Heavenly City the Lord showed her a large ball and said, “Lydia, people on earth think that they can hide things from Me or keep things secret. Well, look into this ball!” When Lydia looked into the ball she saw the whole earth. Masses of people resembling tiny ants were running here and there. They were biting one another, blaspheming, fighting and arguing. They were jealous, hateful, gossiping and deceiving one another. And oh, how they were trying to hide it. Really nothing could be hidden from a Heavenly watcher; this is confirmed with the Word of God in Daniel 2:22,28: “He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him... But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days..” And in Matt. 10:26; “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”
When I heard these things from Lydia, I involuntarily asked her: “Tell me, were you not shocked and saddened when you heard that the Lord wanted to send you back to earth?” “Shocked? Saddened?” she asked rather astonished. “How can that be? Knowing the Lord’s Will and fulfilling it, well, that is simply heavenly. It is a privilege and extremely satisfying.”
Dear friends, the Lord is telling all of us, and these words are like a commandment: “Enter in at the narrow gate! Walk on the narrow path!” God’s Will is to save us and grant us eternal life. Not to fulfill His Will is to condemn ourselves to eternal damnation and unimaginable sufferings. So once and for all, choose the narrow way! Nevertheless, we must not forget that the narrow way is the way of purification! It is a road of war and victory over sin! Those going on it cannot mix Christianity with the world because that which was shown to Lydia could happen to us. The man on the narrow way mixed flour and sugar, and when the Lord asked him to separate them, he could not. People have a tendency to mix Christianity with various things that appeal to them, but the Lord will not stand for it. The narrow way is the way of following Christ and as soon as we want to step on that path, it is inevitable that we pass through the narrow gate leaving behind all that would tie us to the world.
In Matt.7:14, the Word of God says, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Yes, it is true that there are few that find it. Double minded spirits and superficial hearts cannot find it. Those who take Christianity light-heartedly and who go by appearances are also unable to find it. Only those who count on nothing and look whole-heartedly for the truth will find it. Oh, how easy it is to say: “We are all Christ’s children! One day we will all meet at His feet.” Yes, that is what we all think, assuring ourselves of its truthfulness. Let us come and see what the Lord has to say about this. In Psalm 24:3 He is asking us all a question that sounds strange to our comprehension, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” It is the short word “who” which, being used in the singular form, gives the impression that there will not be many. May the Lord grant us to find the narrow gate and the path leading unto eternal life during our Christian life, and to stay on it until the end. The Lord says in Rev. 3:5,21: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels... To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Dear friends! I am aware that after sharing this I will have to give account of each word. After passing through such an experience, you can understand why I am speaking the way I do. I must tell you the truth, whether it be heavy and bitter or not. I must do it even though you may turn your back on me and say: “I no longer want to hear him! We are not used to hearing such things! Such sermons are not pleasant for us!” Well, you are free to decide as you wish. I must be faithful to that which the Lord grants me. I know that the day will come when I will have to stand before the Judge of all judges, Who will ask me: “Erlo, were you faithful? Did you tell people that which I was expecting you to, or did you want to be praised by them and say things that pleased them?” Do you think that if I comply with people’s wishes that I can gain love in the Lord’s eyes? Not for anything!!! That is why I cannot do it any other way. And what about you, friends? Do you not want to be with the people who are truly following Christ? Can you truly renounce everything that is valuable and precious to you in this life in order to gain Christ? The Apostle Paul wrote: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:7-14).
In conclusion, I would like to add that what Lydia had experienced before and after her death will be for many a precious pearl, but for others it will be offensive, and an object of controversy, whereby they will try to persuade others that it is not all true, but rather a product of people’s thoughts and imaginations. I fully understand why this does not please satan. Actually, that which was shown to Lydia is a clear picture of a believer following Christ and walking with Him. But it is only through such things that a spiritual awakening can come about, which is the genuine result of a truthful life with Christ Jesus.
E N D
(by br. Hanola)
After reading through the testimony several times, I was prompted by the Spirit of the Lord to add some important explanations so that the reader would understand and properly interpret the facts contained therein. This prompting was confirmed after the testimony had been discussed in our Body of Christ and various questions asked. The Lord provided answers which, we believe, are vital for the proper understanding and thus for drawing rich blessings from this testimony.
The testimony portrays the narrow road as very harsh and unforgiving. One slight wrong step and "you are gone", one tiny thread of contact with people of darkness or unbelief, and you are denied to continue on the narrow road. One inch more to your "stature", and you will never pass under the wire stretched across the narrow road. One minute of rest on a smooth boulder and it slides with you into the abyss taking you and those who may be with you. One wrong interest in your life or one wrong turn on the road, and you are gone into a deep dark forest from where there is no return, etc.
I was not the only one who received such an impression after the first reading. I was also asked by sincere believers what happened to such people? All their questions were legitimate, and I asked the Lord for the right answers. The right answers are, of course, always in the Holy Scripture, they only need to be found. In addition, the Lord reminded me of my own experiences with myself and those with many other brethren who had been or still are members of our Body.
Here are some answers about the narrow road which I received from the Lord and which should shed light on the matter.
A. The narrow road is harsh as mentioned above and as described in the pamphlet! It is harsh also because it leads through hell. Being on it, we are in almost constant contact with the powers of darkness and thus with deception! (This is a real shock and surprise to the majority of Christians).
1) No one walks on the narrow road because "one likes it." His Disciples were not asked: "would you like to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee?" No, in Mat.14:22 the Lord"constrained" them and their voyage (verse 24) is comparable to the narrow road. Hence, the Lord "constrains"them who love Him to find the narrow road and enables them to walk on it because they are willing to "take up their cross and follow Him" (Mat. 16:24). They are His future Bride and Wife. They are cleansed and perfected by walking on the narrow road and climbing steep places. This Bride is the "maiden" from the Song of Solomon. In chapter 4, verse 8, the Lord calls her to climb with Him the three mountains where there are "lions' dens and leopards" which typify the devils and the powers of darkness (1.Pet. 5:8). The higher we climb with the Lord, the more devils we meet, the more evil and deception we see and understand - but we also see and experience more glory, might, and beauty of the Lord. This gives us joy and strength to continue (Neh. 8:10, Hab. 3:18, Phil. 20, etc.)
2) From the moment the Lord Himself opened His mouth during His brief ministry on earth, it was a "hell on earth" for Him. The Lord Jesus was the first to walk the narrow road. After His death on the cross, He went into hell, which is a prison, and preached there for 3 days and 3 nights (1.Pet. 3:19, Mat. 12:40). Then He was ressurected, obtained a glorified body, and ascended into Heaven. So must the Overcomers go through hell here on earth (preaching, teaching, rebuking, admonishing, comforting, encouraging, praying, interceding, resisting the devils, etc.) before they are ressurected obtaining a glorified body and ascending to Heaven.
B. Despite the harshness and all the difficulties of the narrow road, the fact of the Lord's Grace and continuing presence with the believers in all their circumstances is not apparent from the testimony (Mat. 28:20, Heb. 13:5 + countless other references in Psalms and elsewhere).
So what happened to those people who had to return from their walk, or could not pass under the wire, or took a wrong turn on the road, or were stopped by others, or met countless other difficulties or obstacles? Well, their walk was not necessarily finished! It all depended on their hearts. We all stumbled on that road, we all took wrong turns at various points of our walk, we all had threads on our clothing, we all were mixing flour & sugar, we all built "tents or houses" along the road to at least rest, we all were deceived by others to do "this or that," or to go "here or there"! So what happened to us?
Yes - we all had to return - to the point where we refused the Lord's warning and wanted to continue as if nothing had happened! Some had to return quite a distance, others maybe just a few yards. With countless other believers, the Lord did not have to return them, rather, He had to get them moving again after they pitched a tent and camped somewhere for years!
I have witnessed two families "stepping on a smooth boulder" of deception which slid into the abyss with them! Yet, one family was recovered from the abyss because their hearts desired to know the truth. The Lord showed them the truth and they accepted it, and that "truth set them free" (Jn. 8:32+36). The other family "walked with us" on the narrow road for 16 years, or so it seemed, but they refused to even hear the truth and thus, today they are at the bottom of the abyss waiting for the judgment of the Lord! (This witness is described in more detail in chapter VI. of the book "The Mystery of Reality" published by MRM). So the Lord showed us that He had not totally abandoned (eternally condemned) even those that had slid down but desired them to be recovered.
Lydia seemingly walked in a perfect manner; she never slipped, never took a wrong turn and never had to return. I believe that no human being is able to do that! Rather, the Lord showed her the narrow road with all its hazards, dangers, and seriousness for the purpose to "illustrate it vividly" to every believer who is walking thereon, experiencing difficulties and experiencing the need to depend on the Lord with everything.
Therefore, the message of this testimony is a great lesson, it is a true picture, and it is from the Spirit of the Lord - but no one is expected to walk as perfectly as the testimony portrays Lydia doing so! Rather, we all must learn to walk on it, we all must experience our own inability to make even one step without the Lord! Therefore, in order to learn - the Lord allows us to: step aside and slide, take a wrong turn and later find out, try to crawl under the wire with our pride and arrogance and see and experience the impossibility of such attempts, lose our way in the dark forest and experience the need to call upon Him. And whenever we call upon Him, He answers and helps and delivers us! (Ps.34:17, etc.)
I pray for every believer who is on the narrow road, who is struggling and laboring, who is learning to walk thereon with the Lord, who loves the Lord and is determined to continue and press on to the very end, to the final line, to the victory, to the blessed destiny in Christ the Lord and King of all Glory. I pray for him, I intercede for him before the Throne of Grace, I encourage him and I strengthen him in the Spirit of the Lord. Amen.