Here's a little change from my usual posts, but that's what's so great about blogs! It's just my journal of thoughts and I'm letting you read it. I happened to read this (from a Beth Moore Bible study) on the 4th of July, and, it reminded me, although it sounds a bit cliche, to be grateful that I live in a country in which we all have the freedom to worship whom and how we choose. Her words are simple and straightforward, not poetic and mysteriously deep like C.S. Lewis, but I appreciated how Moore also wisely warns that sometimes our blessed lives keep us from seeing that spiritual warfare is all around us.
"Our Nation today knows very little about true persecution. We too rarely hear accounts of people like John and Betty Stam, young missionaries to China who were beheaded just one month after their arrival in Tsingteh, leaving behind a three-month old infant......No, we are not aquainted with this sort of persecution, but we must pray for those who are. Yet we indeed experience a constant persecution of sorts, waged by the most vicious of all persecutors. But so subtle is this battle that all around us people are being spiritually beheaded while we often remain unmoved. Heads are rolling. This is war."
"...we wonder if people like the Stams had any idea what their commitment might cost them. Would they have dared surrender to such a sentence? Consider this excerpt from a speech delivered to the Moody Bible Institute graduating class of 1932: ' Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or self-denial involved. On the contrary! We are told to expect tribulation and persecution, but with it victory in Christ....It is ours to show, in the salvation of Jesus Christ, a joy unspeakable and full of glory that cannot be affected by outside circumstances.' The speaker? John Stam, just before his departure to China."
POST SCRIPT EDIT: Dave's comments encouraged me to dig a little deeper, and I found some more info online. To read some basic info about the Stam's and their baby, Helen, check here.