When I was a child, I was a prolific reader. We belonged to a Christian book club, and I read so many wonderful stories of godly people the Lord had used to make such a difference in the lives of others.
I was always mesmerized by the stories of missionaries and wondered how they ever had enough faith and courage to withstand the fiery darts of the devil and "having done all, to stand." (Loose translation of Ephesians 6:13).
One such couple was John and Betty Stam. I don't know why the Lord brought them to my mind, since I hadn't thought of them in years. If you have never read the story, it is one that will change your perspective on what it really means to be sold out to the Lord. They were missionaries in China and were beheaded in their twenties for loving the Lord and living out His Word before the Communist Chinese. The way the Lord cared for their infant daughter for more than 30 hours following their death increased my faith and shamed me for my lack of it.
In December 1934, on a lonely hill in China, John and Betty Stam, young American missionaries, still only in their late twenties, were led out to die at the hands of Red Soldiers. The reaction to such a tragedy throughout the world was at first one of benumbed shock. Then came the question into the minds of many, Â“Why such waste?Â” But as faith triumphed over seeming defeat, into Christian lands everywhere, came an upsurge of missionary zeal. It is probably true that more was accomplished for God in that supreme sacrifice than would have been possible had John and Betty lived to give years to normal missionary effort. Source: Paw Creek Ministries website.
Even as a young teenager, Betty Stam prayed this prayer:
"Lord, I give up all of my own plans and purposes, all of my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."
There's that phrase again, "at any cost."
I woke up this morning oppressed in my spirit. I know why. I was worrying about the menial things of life that spoil the fruit of the riches of His grace. As our pastor said this morning, I know what God has done, and what He will do, but I forget to rest in the fact that He is the "I am." He is doing a work right now.
I can not ever say anything about how the Israelites would go from one day to the next trusting and then distrusting God. I do the very same thing. One day I am writing about a life He is still changing, and the next day I wake up oppressed.
Here's what I know as a fact, "I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day." 2 Tim 1:12. And then I remember all of the instructions Paul gave to Timothy, "guard the good deposit entrusted to you, there's a crown of righteousness waiting, hold fast, don't be ashamed, the truth will be revealed, don't be afraid..."
As I continued to reminisce about the story of the Stams, I looked up more information and found that when their parents heard of the tragic death of their children, one of the parents spoke these words "when you put God second, you get His second best, but when you put Him first, you get His Best."
Their children were in His presence. What could be better than that?
"Now unto him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his glory without blemish in exceeding joy, to Him be glory forever and ever, Amen and Amen." Jude 1:24, 25
Love to all, Mecca