"Chasing the Lion" - A Personal Story

Posted by donna on June 8, 2017

ChasingtheLion (002).pngThose of you who receive emails from me may have noticed that under my signature, I always have a quote from Hudson Taylor, one of my life’s hero’s. Taylor once said, “Without the element of risk there is no need for faith.”

The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ was never meant or promised to be without risk; quite the opposite in fact. Jesus said “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34f)

Jim Elliot, famed martyr, is noted to have said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he can never lose.” Jim Elliott was killed along with several other young men on the shores of a remote river in the jungles of Ecuador.

I’d like to relate a personal story that illustrates how I came to understand more fully the words that Jesus spoke and that Elliot echoed.

For very personal reasons, I do not often speak of the tragic 1981 death of my brother, which occurred while we served together in Thailand, but I want to share a part of my heart and relate a small portion of the story here.

In late fall of 1981 we began ministry in a new village in the central rice plains of Thailand. It was a very remote and dangerous area, but we sensed the Spirit of God at work in profound ways. Many had expressed a desire to know Christ. This village was used by people who wanted to escape the reaches of the law. These ‘bandit villages’ were not uncommon in the regions where we served among unreached peoples. The exposure that our presence brought was not appreciated by many and as a result, two local men hired a gunman to stop us the next time we were in the village. As a result, my brother was killed while by God’s grace, I was spared.

Soon after the shooting, I was scheduled to stay overnight in a town next to the village where the assault had taken place. One of the two men who had been rumoured to have hired the gunmen lived in the town. I was aware of this, as were the people of that town. That night, as I went to sleep in the open wooden and bamboo home, I felt the dread of what could happen. I lay down facing the open windows of that stilt home, praying that the Lord would be with me and I was ready to trust Him despite my fear. I sensed a measure of peace. Usually, whenever I travelled overnight, I would sleep on the floor, separated from the family who owned the home. That night, as I lay down, I heard the father of the family, a well-respected man of the village, move his thin mattress to lay down beside me. I noticed that he was quite close, and that he had positioned himself between me and the open windows. He was God’s guardian angel, protecting me that night. I thanked him and slept soundly. I knew then, that God was with me even in the shadow of the valley of death and I could by His grace, fear no evil.

That night I understood that as a disciple of Jesus we can bear the cross daily and that God never leaves us to carry it alone.


Willem Fietje

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