The Rest of the Story (Ben Hur) inspired by the late Paul Harvey
Most folks my age knows the story of Ben Hur, maybe some of the younger readers out there have not read the book or watched the movie. I highly recommend it! This classic book written by a Civil War general, Lew Wallace, in 1899, was turned into a movie starring Charleton Heston, which won the Academy Award for best movie in 1959. It is a towering story of love, of suffering, of the struggle of good against evil, and finally of triumph. Judah Ben Hur, the story’s hero, grows up with his boyhood friend, Marsalla. Judah is a Jew, and Marsalla a Roman. Judah is the heir of a very great and wealthy house in Jerusalem. Marsalla is a promising military man who trained in Rome as a soldier, then returned to Jerusalem as the leader of the Roman occupation forces. Both are great friends, but fate intervenes and makes the two bitter enemies.
Judah Ben Hur is sent off to die in prison, but a kind man gives him water to drink and that act of kindness leads to his will to survive and again fate has him saving the admiral of the Roman fleet and thus thrusting Judah back into fame and fortune.
The story of Ben Hur is riveting and all inspiring, but do you know the rest of the story about the WRITER of the novel? You see General Wallace, like myself started as an atheist! He began this book in an attempt to show the silliness of the Christian faith. I too started off my journey back in 1975 to disprove Garner Ted Armstrong and his logical and methodical belief in God - The God of the Bible! This story has a special meaning to me, because Mr. Wallace met a fate with destiny in his journey, as I did some 70 years later....... And the rest of the story ???????????????????
Judah returns to Jerusalem with all the wealth and power of his new identity, and confronts the astonished Marsalla, who assumed he had been dead for years. Ben Hur demanded that Marsalla find and release from prison his mother and sister. Marsalla finds them in prison, but they have leprosy, so he whisks them away to the leper colony outside Jerusalem to live out a pitiful existence. Ben Hur is told that they are dead. His hate for Marsalla grows, and in a chariot race in which Marsalla and Judah Ben Hur are the primary figures, Marsalla is killed. With his dying breath, Marsalla, out of spite, tells Judah the truth about his mother and sister.
Judah’s hate now no longer has an object to focus on. He generalizes his hatred and becomes a bitter shell of his former self. Finally, in desperation he goes to the leper colony to get his mother and sister to take them to Jesus, this great preacher who has been performing miracles. When they get to Jerusalem where they think they will find Him, they discover that He has just been crucified. Now, all hope is gone, and despair settles over them. However, in the hours and earthquakes rocked the city, Judah’s mother and sister are healed of the leprosy, and Judah’s heart, along with his mother’s and sister’s, is turned to Jesus. Their faith, their health and their lives are restored.
Paul Harvey gave the rest of the story! When Lew Wallace set out to study the life of Christ, he was not a Christian. Wallace was antagonistic toward Christianity, and determined he would study the life of Christ so thoroughly, and then write so convincingly, that he would be able to kill the story of Christ. He wanted to prove that Jesus, if He had lived, was not God, but merely a man, that He never rose from the dead, and that Christianity was a hoax. I tried to do the same thing over 4 long years! My journey, like Lew Wallace’s, ended up like Judah Ben Hur's! Proving to us that Jesus is God and He is coming again as Lord of Lords and King of Kings!
Like me, Wallace studied the Bible. This great and enormous subject drew him further and further into his research until the evidence overwhelmed him. We both ended up dropping to our knees and crying out to Jesus to be hour Savior and Lord. For Wallace, instead of writing a book to prove to the world that Jesus was not God, he wrote Ben Hur, to try to prove to the world that Jesus was God.
And now you know The Rest of the Story!!!!!!!!!!!!