The Loving Hand
of the Lord

by Nobuyoshi Ishikura

I was born in 1948, soon after World War II as a son of a Christian man. As my family was very poor, we did not always have sufficient food. One day our father bought some bread for us children, but I found that he did not have anything for himself to eat. I asked him, "Where is your bread?" He answered with a smile, "Do not worry. Just eat." When he had something to eat, he always enjoyed it to the fullest, saying "Oh It's good." I could not understand him then, but now I know that he had the food that I did not know.

Jesus said "Man shall not live by bread alone" (Luke 4:4). "I am that bread of life (John 6:48) "who ever eats my flesh and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54).

Praise the flesh and blood of Christ. Hallelujah! My father who eats this wonderful food raised me with thanksgiving and the love of Christ.

But as a child, I did not respond to His love. I was so selfish that I gave a lot of trouble to my family.

World of darkness

In my adolescence, I began to go to the world of darkness where I could receive temporary pleasure. At night I used to play around in such amusement quarters as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akasaka and Roppongi with my buddies until dawn.

My parents must have been worried about me. Moreover I started to take sleeping pills and sniff paint thinner to make me high. I had a car accident because I was high with drugs. On another occasion, while in hospital for appendicitis surgery, I sniffed thinner with my buddies in the bedroom.

When I was finally caught by the police, my father suffered high blood pressure. I had to stay in jail for a while because I did not give the police the names of my buddies. It was then that I prayed for the first time. "God forgive me. Please give my father another year. I will be good to him in the year!" My father had exactly one more year until he went on to heaven, although I hardly did anything good to him.

Protected by God

I now recognise the strong protecting power of God in my accident and in the jail. On another occasion, my car skidded on the expressway and hit the central guard-rail. Although the car was completely wrecked, I did not have a single injury. I was protected by the promise of God through the faith of my father. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your household;" (Acts 16:31). Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! How happy I have been!

However, I did not know the love of God when my father passed away. I thought about suicide. I tried to kill myself with poison gas several times, but somebody stopped me whenever I tried. I was frustrated, wondering why I could not handle my fate by my own will. "Maybe God does exist." I found myself crying and praying. "God! Help me." Tears rolled down my cheeks.

Several days later I visited a church for the first time, partly because of my brother's advice. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened" (Matthew 7: 7-8). Hallelujah! The door of the church and the gate of heaven were opened to such a wretched man as l.

Power to face the world

Truly God is alive and loves and saves the people on the earth. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). I do not remember what the pastor said, but I cannot forget the large letters on the church board: "God is love" (I John 4:16).

I went back home, captured by this word. But I was still helpless. That night, I pleaded to the Lord Jesus; "Lord Jesus! Help me. I have no power to live. I prayed on my bed, crying. When I began to doze off, suddenly my body was paralyzed and I heard the noise of rain for a little while. I realized that the Lord Jesus gave me the power to face the world. I was filled with the living water which flowed from the words: "God is love." The same thing happened several times.

One day, without any warning, strange words penetrated from my head to the toe like a sword. At the Holy Spirit rally at church a few days later, I found myself praising God with an unknown tongue with tears in my eyes. "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4: 14).

Knowing the loving God, I was baptized in water. I cannot help praising this wonderful Lord my God. On November 28, 1971, when I was 23 years old, I made my first step into the baptism sink, led by two ministers. After the baptism as I stood up, I was filled with the Spirit, raising my hands and praising God in tongues.

On Christmas Eve that year when I was half asleep, I was again filled with the Spirit and the word came out of my belly three times: "The loving hand of the Lord is upon you." Hallelujah! What a wonderful Christmas present from the Lord.

Next summer, at the church camp, a young lady was led to Christ. This was Noriko whom I married in June, 1973. We settled in Matsue on the Japan Sea coast in western Japan, but I could not do well with my business. I moved to nearby Sakaiminato to be a Mitsubishi automobile salesman. With a lot of prayer I finally could settle down. Four years later my first daughter, Ai, was born.

Wonderful wife

As we needed more space, we prayed, "Please give us bigger house with good sunshine." In a few days God answered our prayer. One of my friends asked me if there was anybody who wanted to rent a hairdressing saloon. We moved there. As Noriko have a licence for hairdressing, she started her business, while raising a little baby at the same time. We worked hard together and saved some money.

With the help of our Lord, Noriko gave birth to our second daughter, Nozomi. Noriko worked hard in hairdressing as well as looking after our two children. I thank the Lord for giving me this wonderful wife. We could buy the land nearby and built a house on it.

My job, however, did not last long. I had to quit my job with Mitsubishi. Although I started a house cleaning business, I did not have many customers. 1 often directed my frustration on my wife until she finally wept. One day while we were quarreling, I shouted at her; "Get out of this house!"

Noriko left home with our daughters. As days passed by, my worry grew. I became extremely uneasy and I finally broke down and prayed to God. God answered this backslidden believer's prayer. He said: "Your wife and children are in my hand." Truly my wife and children were in God's hand. They were staying at our mother church in Tokyo. We were reconciled.

Then we moved to Tsuchiura in suburban Tokyo to search for a job. Our debt was so large that we could not discharge it even after we sold our house in Sakaiminato. But we had hope in God and He helped me to establish my own real estate agency.

Last February when members of Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship international (FGBMFI) visited Japan, their wonderful testimonies blessed me tremendously. At the closing of the meeting, one of the visiting brothers stepped out and held me. I burst out into tears like the prodigal son at the father's breast.

We established the Tokyo chapter of FGBMFI the following year through the encouragement of Canadian brothers.

It was my great joy that I and ten other Japanese brothers and sisters could attend the 1991 FGBMFI world convention in Orlando, Florida. We were astonished to see the great move of the Holy Spirit. At the breakfast meeting, I was called to give a testimony about Japan. I was blessed when Demos and James Shakarian hugged me. I felt the love of Jesus pouring upon all Japanese members.

Nobuyoshi Ishikura is an elder of Koiwa Eikou Christ Church in Tokyo. He and his wife, Noriko, have two daughters.
Nobuyoshi Ishikura, Noriko and their two daughters.

Article taken from Asian Voice with permission from Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship.