Sadhu Sundar Singh was born in northern India in 1889. As a youth, he experienced deep despair and felt that life was meaningless. He decided to commit suicide. However, the night before the plan was to be executed, he had a vision of Jesus. Consequently, instead of taking his life, he gave it to Christ.
His decision to become a Christian didn’t go unchallenged. His father disowned him and his brother tried to poison him. He found refuge with Christians in a nearby town.
Following his conversion to Christ, Sadhu felt called to missions. He was baptized and shortly afterward set out on his missionary enterprise. He said, “I’m not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord, but, like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all men of the love of God.”
Sadhu was arrested and stoned and suffered many hardships. He was referred to as “the apostle with the bleeding feet” by those he visited in mountainous northern communities. He attempted a mission trip to Tibet in 1929 and was never seen again.
One of the most noteworthy and life-changing events in Sadhu’s remarkable life involved him walking on foot through the Himalaya Mountains. A monk from another religion he’d previously encountered joined him. The pass was treacherous, the weather was bitterly cold and the wind howled.
As they entered a narrow pass, a man fell from the cliffs above them. He was badly injured. Sadhu’s companion said, “Don’t stop. God brought this man to his fate. He must work it out for himself … we must keep going, or we too will perish.”
Sadhu replied, “No! God brought me here to help this man. I won’t leave him.”
The monk continued on. Sadhu went to the man, made a sling of his blanket and tied the man onto his back. He bent down under the burden and began the climb. By the time he reached the top of the pass, he was drenched in perspiration. He was no longer cold!
Sadhu doggedly continued on and finally he saw lights in the distance. All at once Sadhu stumbled over something lying in the snow. To his amazement, it was the body of the monk, frozen to death.
For the rest of his life, whenever anyone asked him, “What is life’s most difficult task?” he would respond without hesitation, “To have no burden to carry.”
Sadhu understood an important lesson that Christians need to learn and adhere to. “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor of Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection