He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young (Isaiah 40:11)
On a freezing cold day in November 1939, more than one million soldiers from the communist government of the Soviet Union rushed across the border into the nation of Finland. The Finns, severely outnumbered and outgunned held off the invasion for two months, but finally lost the battle. The Finns suffered enormous losses: 43,557 were wounded, 25,904 were killed, and 11% of the nation annexed. Two and a-half months after the Winter War began, it ended. All of Finland became a puppet territory of the Soviets.
A group of Finnish soldiers captured seven Soviet soldiers and sentenced to death. The evening before their death sentences were to be carried out, one of the soldiers began singing the American hymn, Safe in the Arms of Jesus by the blind poet Fanny Crosby.
The Finns were bewildered by the song and asked what the soldier was singing. He explained that he’d heard it sung only three weeks earlier at a Christian meeting and how it had stuck in his head and heart. Just that evening, with his death on his mind, he’d awakened recalling the song.
As a boy, he explained, his mother sang and spoke of Jesus constantly, but he refused the message of her precious Saviour. He repeated verses from the Bible that his mother had taught him, and then testified that after he’d awakened, he’d come to believe that Jesus had forgiven his own sins and had made a reservation for him in Heaven, even should he be executed.
Everyone present, Finns and Soviets alike, listened. The group spent several hours praying, crying, talking about the hymn and the Bible verses the solider could remember. One of the other Soviets confessed Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
When it came time to execute the alien soldiers, the Finns asked that the hymn be sung once again so everyone might join in.
Long after the execution, the Finn officer in command reported, What happened in the hearts of the others I don’t know, but … I was a new man from that hour. I had met Christ in one of His loveliest and youngest disciples, and I had seen enough to realize that I too could be His.