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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Afraid? Of that?

At the end of our mission's conference my mind goes to a poem I read a few weeks ago while reading the story of John and Betty Stam. Let me start with the background of the poem:

Remarkably, on the same day that news of the Stams’ death reached America, John’s father, the Rev. Peter Stam, received a letter from his son that had been posted from China many weeks before. In his letter he told about the threat of the Communists, but reiterated his faith and commitment to serve God in China regardless of the cost. John Stam repeated a poem written by another China missionary, J.W. Vinson, who had himself been captured by bandits. The bandits asked Vinson if he was afraid to die. Vinson replied, “No! If you shoot straight, I shall go straight to heaven!” His captors did shoot straight, and Vinson entered heaven as one who “loved not his life unto death.” Earlier, Vinson had penned this poem, which Stam now quoted to his father:

Afraid? Of what?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain
to perfect peace?
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid?—of that?
Afraid? Of what?
Afraid to see the Saviour’s face?
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid?—of that?
Afraid? Of what?
A flash—a crash—a pierced heart;
Darkness—light—O heaven’s art!
A wound of his counterpart!
Afraid? Of that?
Afraid? Of what?
To enter into Heaven's rest,
And yet to serve the Master blessed?
From service good to service best?
Afraid? Of that?
Afraid? Of what?
To do by death what life could not -
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid? Of that?
--E.H. Hamilton
Serving the Lord is a privilege - whether it takes us to the mission field or we stay in our hometown. There is nothing to fear when He leads us. If He sends us, may we go. If He desires us to send others and support them with our means, may we obey! It's a blessing to give because we love our Lord!
Your fellow servant,

1 comment:

Beth said...

I think I remember hearing that poem before, but it was a blessing! Thank you!