A Wisdom Retreat - July 21

Only God Knows

Romans 11:33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became his counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

The 1921 story of David and Svea Flood, missionaries to the Belgian Congo, is little-known today. But what follows is a remarkable story of faith . . . and restoration.

The Floods left their native Sweden with a two-year-old son, set out for the interior of Africa, and together with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, sought God's direction for their endeavors. Rebuffed by the chief who would not let them enter the village for fear of alienating the local gods, the two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but the only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell chickens and eggs twice a week to them. Svea Flood decided if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus—and she did. But there were no other converts.

Malaria struck the members of the little team and, in time, the Ericksons returned to the central mission station. The Floods remained; when the time came for Svea to give birth, the village chief allowed a midwife to help her. A healthy girl, Aina, was born, but the delivery was difficult for Svea; she died seventeen days later.

Angry with God, David dug a crude grave, buried his young wife, and took his two children back to the mission station. He left the baby with the Ericksons and returned to Sweden, saying, "God has ruined my life." Both Ericksons died eight months later, and little Aina was taken in by American missionaries, coming to the States at age three. Aggie, as she was now called, grew up in South Dakota, attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years later her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and she found much Scandinavian heritage there. One day a photo in a Swedish religious magazine caught her eye. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross—and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD. Six hundred Christian believers now lived in that village . . . a testimony to David and Svea Flood!

Aggie knew she had to go to Sweden! Her father, now married with four children, and an old man, was bitter and broken. When she came to his bed, he turned away and began to cry. "Aina, I never meant to give you away." "It's all right, Papa," she replied, taking him gently into her arms, "God took care of me." By the end of the afternoon, David had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.

Some years later, the Hursts attended an evangelism conference in London, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire, the former Belgian Congo. The superintendent of the national church, representing 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel's spread in his nation. Aggie asked him afterward if he had heard of David and Svea Flood. "Yes, madam," the man replied in French, "Svea Flood led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. You must come to Africa; your mother is the most famous person in our history."

Later, in Zaire, Aggie Hurst and her husband were welcomed . . . by cheering throngs of villagers in the place where she was born!

Prayer Point: Praise God for His goodness to you, even in your times of doubt and confusion. Thank him that He never leaves you in your bitterness, but restores you to Himself.

Extra Refreshment: Read Jonah 1—a story of how God's kindness led to salvation for thousands.

Wisdom for the Heart online

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we’re committed to expounding on Scripture and illustrating with life!