The chief called the family who had converted to follow Jesus. He demanded that they renounce their faith in public. Otherwise they would face execution.
About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England. Because of this, many missionaries came from England and Germany to North-East India to spread the Gospel. At the time, north-east India was not divided into states as it is today. The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes. The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive by nature.
The tribal people were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible. A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected. Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house. The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered.
Into this hostile and aggressive community came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace and hope of Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One Welsh missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity. Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution.
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:
I have decided to follow Jesus (3x)
No turning back, no turning back
Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.” But the man sang these words in reply:
Though None Go with Me, Still I Will Follow (3x)
No Turning Back, No Turning Back
The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”
In the face of death, the man sang the final memorable lines:
The World Behind Me, The Cross Before Me (3x)
No Turning Back, No Turning Back
He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was so moved by the faith of the man that he began to seek God and gave his life to Christ.
Soon, the chief declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the villagers heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11).
If you are suffering for being a believer in Christ, know this. Many have gone before you. Many have paid the ultimate price for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel not free… it is paid for by the precious blood of Jesus.
(From the book Why God Why by Dr. P.P. Job)