So William Booth was on a train and he has a vision. He sees a black strorm rising up and a tragic ship wreck. People dying and sinking into the dark sea of misery, some of them sinking to rise no more.
Suddenly, out of this dark storm rises a huge platform from which those who had been saved from the wreckage were now helping others to safety. However, there were others who had been saved who were not concerned in helping people out of the sea, but who were occupied with other tasks, leisures, employments in spite of the fact even some of their family members were still drowning in the sea.
They were busy placing flowers by the side of the platform, playing music and painting pictures. Some were pre-occupied with eating and drinking.
There among them was a Wonderful being…all on the rock said they loved him and heard his call, but few were involved in the danger of the rescue. They just wanted Him to come and make them feel safe and secure, to comfort and guide them so that they would never again fall off the rock.
Booth, in his vision, saw a true parable of the church of Jesus Christ. Sadly, it is a true parable of the Salvation Army which God birthed through his passion and vision. He concludes thus:
“Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous? Unquestionably it is so. There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for everyone who takes it, means difficulty and scorn and suffering. For you it may mean more than this. It may mean death. He who beckons you from the sea however, knows what it will mean – and knowing, He still calls to you and bids to you to come.
You must do it! You cannot hold back. You have enjoyed yourself in Christianity long enough. You have had pleasant feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, pleasant prospects. There has been much of human happiness, much clapping of hands and shouting of praises- very much of heaven on earth.
Now then, go to God and tell Him you are prepared as much as necessary to turn your back upon it all, and that you are willing to spend the rest of your days struggling in the midst of these perishing multitudes, whatever it may cost you.
You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon your mind and the call that is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning hands that are now before your eyes, you have no alternative. To go down among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your happiness from now on will consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into the very jaws of hell to rescue them.”
My response? Here I am, my Lord, send me.