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Testimonies from the Past

I find it troubling today to hear of those who deny well documented events from the past. The so-called holocaust deniers: those who refuse to accept that man has walked on the moon. Sadly, those who were eyewitnesses of these accounts are passing away at an alarming rate, diminishing the number of those who have verifiable testimonies of the actual events.

Here is the testimony of a General in the Army of how God answered prayer for him. First, let me establish that this soldier was not involved in any recent wars. No, Lieutenant-General Sir William G. S. Dobbie was a general officer in WWI, or the Great War, called by some the War to End All Wars. It was a global conflict which lasted from 1914 to 1918 and is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in history. In his book A Very Present Help, General Dobbie tells the following story which is abbreviated for space.

“In 1918, the final year of the Great War, the Germans made a heavy and very dangerous attack against us and the French Army, to drive a wedge between the two armies and defeat them. The attack was very heavy and met with a good deal of success for the enemy. Our line was driven back a long way, and our connection with the French armies was stretched almost to breaking point.

“It became necessary to move our line to the south to meet a serious threat of a breakthrough. I knew how vitally important it was that this move should take place without delay. Should the Germans succeed in separating us from the French Armies this would basically mean that we had lost the war. Knowing all this, I telephoned the officer who worked with the railways, and told him we needed trains in the north to move a division of soldiers to the south, and that the move was to be carried out without delay. He replied that such a move was impossible. No trains were available. I said: “But this is vital. Trains must be found.” He again replied that it was absolutely impossible. No trains were available. No use to argue.”

“Perhaps he was right. But when arguments cannot change things, prayer can. I hung up the receiver and knelt in my office and laid the matter before God. I said, “Lord, I have come to the end of my rope. If we are not to lose the war–please help.” I got up from my knees and went on with other work. My telephone rang again. It was the Train Officer. He said: “The most extraordinary thing has happened. Sufficient trains have suddenly and quite unexpectedly become available. The move was carried out in time to plug the hole the enemy was punching in our line, and we did not lose the war!

“Another instance of God’s help in answer to prayer happened in 1929. The Arabs and Jews were once again in open conflict in Gaza. Troops and warships were rushed from Egypt to help restore order. One afternoon, before all the troops arrived, I was informed that a large force of 5,000 armed Bedouin was moving on Gaza. All my available forces were fully occupied with other duties, and none could be spared to go to Gaza, where there was no defense force of any kind. In Gaza was a British Mission Hospital, with British women nurses, and the wives and children of the doctors. This constituted a serious reason why the place should be protected, and yet I had no means of affording it the needed protection.

“I could think of nothing more which I could do, and as night fell, I asked for God’s special help. Just as I had done in other desperate circumstances in France eleven years before, I knelt and implored His help. He gave it. Suddenly, a change occurred. The Bedouin, for no reason that I was able to ascertain, changed direction at right angles, and instead of completing the short distance to Gaza, turned to the North-East, and spent the night in the open country.

“Some years later I heard another side to this same story. I met Dr. Hargreaves, the missionary doctor in

charge of the hospital at Gaza. He told me that he had heard that afternoon, in Jerusalem, the report of the advance of the Bedouin on Gaza and was naturally greatly disturbed about it. There was nothing he could do, so he went to prayer―and while I was praying in Jerusalem, he was also doing likewise a short distance away, each of us not knowing what the other was doing. When we met some years later and compared notes, we were able to rejoice together at the faithfulness of our prayer-answering God.”

Friends, the great God who answered prayer in 1918 and 1929 still answers prayer in 2023. Ask and you shall receive.

Francis Mason

Pastor Mason

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