John and Betty Stam – Missionary Martyrs
I’ve just finished Vince Christie’s book about the missionary martyrs, John and Betty Stam. It’s a tiny book but so chock-full of challenges, encouragements and Jesus Christ that I found myself writing lots of notes.
I have to admit before reading this book I had no idea who these people were – suffice to say I felt very differently after this book. This book challenges the idleness that I find so much within my life especially at a time when God hasn’t called me to a huge work such as John and Betty Stam were. I loved the way that we are shown the backgrounds of these two ordinary people, whose faith was so strong and their hope in Christ was so real that anybody could see that there was something different about them.
The greatest challenge to my thinking came in the last chapter. This quote was penned by a close friend of John and Betty, Clara Scott:
We have been thankful that from the first we committed our three precious ones into the Lord’s hands, and have prayed that His name might be glorified and His will done. We have, of course, prayed that, if it be in accordance with His plans for them, their lives might be spared to witness to His great power to release from physical danger. But at the same time we, if His name could be the more glorified through the sacrifice of their young lives, were still willing to give up our treasure into His hands, knowing that He would not carry out such a purpose unless the greater glory would result through their death than through their living witness.
That last sentence was so hard-hitting that I suddenly realised how selfish I had personally been over the past few days. Many times I had fears of suddenly becoming blind or being unable to walk or whatever, but these words totally blew my thoughts out of the water, He would not carry out such a purpose unless the greater glory would result through [it].
The second quote is one by a young woman who heard about the incident and desired immediately to join CIM (today’s OMF):
I do not fear death, but would be happy to die in China or here for Christ’s cause. The chief desire would be that my death should be a means of leading precious souls to Christ. Being human, I naturally dread suffering and distress of body, and abuse at the hands of wicked men. But I really believe that I have faced all these possibilities and counted the cost. This tragic and terrible happening does not frighten me but, rather, makes me regird myself with the armor of God.
Do we all feel like this? Do we all feel a sense, not to go to China or Vietnam or Peru or wherever, but to live lives that constantly lead precious souls to Christ? There is a ministry or mission for all of us, whether it be at home or abroad, whether it be in the workplace, home, school, youth group – are we obeying God living lives that glorify Christ? It is frightening, of course it is, but as the young woman just said we should not run away in fear, but regird ourselves with the armor of God.
Finally, listen to this prayer, written by Betty herself:
Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Your will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to You to be Yours forever. Fill me and seal me with Your Holy Spirit. Use me as You want, send me where You want, work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.
Can you say this prayer truly?