WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER
History is a fascinating study. The names of both notables and those of notoriety crowd its stage. And who can be excluded from this gallery? Everybody is there; people of all races and nations, from all ages and times, from every continent and country, achievers and devastators, the former praised, the latter maligned. Actually, many who shouldn't be there at all have somehow managed a place for themselves. The stage is expanding from day to day.
However there are countless men and women whose importance has never been recognised. If sought for in the galleries of history, they won't be found there; in fact, they won't be found anywhere. These people's service and achievement is known only in their own circles. They aren't considered successful from the standpoint of human accomplishment. But what is the criterion of success? How can we measure it?
God is certainly above history and he is the one who controls it. So there are those placed by him in this gallery. Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, declares: "Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another; the LORD heeded and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and thought on his name" (3:16). And the prophet Isaiah voices this beautiful song: "And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem" (4:3).
In Malachi's day there were sceptics who contended with God. But he responded with the words: "You have said, 'It is vain to serve God. What is the good of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts?’”(3:14). Many have lived lives of devotion and zeal before the God who governs history and who will bring everything to the predetermined conclusion. These saints will pass into endless glory. Yet even their names are not known.
One of these is Vahram Tatikian (1909-1965). Vahram was a true son of Anatolia<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. He was not known to a very wide circle. Nevertheless, he could be numbered among the well-known servants in God's shining gallery. As the prophet Daniel put it: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (12:2, 3)
Vahram's single-minded service to God and man, first in Istanbul, then in Anatolia and finally in different countries around the world reads like a spiritual epic. Quite a few people still remember with respect and gratitude this simple man whose labors are reminiscent of the amazing ministry of the Apostle Paul and the other apostles. What is so distinctive and striking about this godly man and yet whose name is virtually unknown in our times? How was it that he, who knew neither school nor university, was able to speak to hundreds of thousands of people, change the direction of their hearts' affections and be used as an effective instrument in bringing countless people to find peace with God?
The aim of this account is not to give a full-length, detailed biography of Vahram's life and service. Such an undertaking would be impossible in the light of the fact that he left only a few letters and sermons. Our intent is to describe the most exciting features of his life, ministry and labors, and at the same time recognise the special workings of the Holy Spirit manifested in his life. He emerges as one who sought to please God supremely, laboring effectively in the power of the Holy Spirit, mighty in faith, fearless in prevailing prayer and wise in personal encounters. In our grievously lax, materialistic, hedonistic, easy-going age, Vahram's exemplary simple life has a quality about it that directs the reader to true blessedness. He depended unreservedly upon the Sovereign, Triune God and on the Holy Scriptures. He never deviated from the revelation, precepts and instruction of the Bible and never compromised its truth. His whole life was governed by the heart-warming exhortation of Scripture: "Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).
We must not forget the striking and challenging word: "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7). The writer to the Hebrews goes on to introduce the one who strengthened, guided and influenced the leaders mentioned here: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (13:8).
The same Jesus Christ who raised up and equipped heroes of faith like Vahram Tatikian can do the same today. The life story and labors of this man can benefit everyone.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Anatolia, 'East' in Greek, is the geographic designation for the whole land which is Turkey in our day. In this book it will be mentioned often.
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