I remember one of my daughters asking in grade school, “If someone said they would kill me if I said I was a Christian, would it be OK to lie and say I wasn’t, but not to mean it?” In a small Minnesota town she wasn’t likely to ever face that choice, but many do every day—in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Columbia and many other places. This book brings us face to face with that reality and what we can do about it.
This week I heard Mary Stauffer speak at a women’s luncheon. Thirty years ago Mary and her family were preparing to return to their missionary work in the Philippines when a former student kidnapped Mary and her eight-year-old daughter. They were held in a closet for 53 days. Mary was repeatedly taken out and raped and humiliated. (Her abductor, who also murdered a six-year-old boy who witnessed the abduction, will soon be up for parole, but the courts have decided he should be committed to an institution for incorrigible sex offenders.)
Mary told us:
Faith matters more than feelings.
Trust matters more than understanding.
God’s glory matters more than my desires.
My godly reaction matters more than the other person’s evil.
And God’s strength is greater than my weakness.
I have never had to face the challenges that Mary Stauffer or Kathi’s characters encounter. Would I have the courage to hold to my faith under such conditions? I don’t know. But maybe I can pray Mary’s points for believers like Zhen-Li.
Red Ink is part of a series called Extreme Devotion that shows believers facing overwhelming challenges to their faith. I confess that I am a little disappointed that No Greater Love set in South Africa, is an historical about apartheid rather than taking on the challenges of HIV and AIDS today. More than Conquerors looks at Mexico’s clash of cultures. I can’t wait to see the fourth book—set in Saudi Arabia.