Saturday, January 25, 2014

Surrendering to the lordship of Jesus Christ - Trusting God in everything (Includes the story of John and Betty Stam)

"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." - Isaiah 30:15
"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." - Luke 2:19

   Have you ever had so many things on your heart that you have no idea how to put them into words? Or perhaps even just a few, but you find those few things filling your entire being? 
That's how I have been feeling many times these last couple of weeks. Not in a bad way or anxious way, but rather, in a pondering and wondering way. I am learning more and more of the beauty in quietness, rest, contentment, and trust. In all those things combined, I find renewed hope and strength in my Savior. He is faithful to teach me how to surrender everything from my today, my tomorrow, and beyond. The more I rest in Him, the less restless I am concerning the future. And yes, specifically, concerning marriage. Why that is an ever probing subject on a girl's mind, I'm afraid I will never understand! How can something that is so wonderfully created BY GOD, be the most distracting thing ever?! 

Okay, sorry, almost went on a bunny trail there!


John (He's almost 21 already!)
Not long ago, I wrote about how I tend to feel about change (here). I guess it is inevitable I would think about "change" around the New Year. I still have the feeling in my gut that this year will be different and filled with newness. In fact, change is already coming our way. My sister, Krystal, and her husband, Anthony, are adopting a little girl from Bulgaria. They are over there right now meeting her.  I can't wait for our turn to meet her! 

 Secondly, my brother, John, is moving out soon! I'm very thankful he will only be 10-15 minutes away, and yet even with him still so close, our home dynamics are about to change. Crazy! 
In the midst of my sadness of not getting to spend as much time with one of my best friends in the whole world, I am very, very excited for the opportunity the Lord has opened for him.  I'm trying to take advantage of being stretched in this area of change and further learn to surrender everything and everyone in my life to the Lord. His grace if sufficient! :) 

Thirdly, beginning on Tuesday, I will be spending time two days a week with a little girl, named Macey, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheel chair. Needless to say, I am excited beyond words for this opportunity! Children with special needs are very near and dear to my heart and I am thankful that God has opened this door to work with her and her family. Will you please pray for me? I really hope and pray that Macey and I will connect quickly and become good buds :) I also need wisdom and discernment to learn what best motivates her and encourages her. 


Brooke
Also, my best friend, accountability partner, sister, and confidant(besides my mother & father), Brooke, will be leaving this year to go to eleven countries in eleven months with an organization called the World Race. In other words, she's paying me back for being in Thailand for fifteen months. Gosh, talk about change! I'm not sure what I'm going to do without her. Once again, I'm thankful God does. 

And lastly, I'm planning a trip to Germany!!!!!!! Now this is change I can handle. A trip to Europe has been one of my dreams for the last several years, and now, Lord willing, I will finally be able to visit my very good friend, Kristyn. The date is not set, nor do I have the funds, but I am planning, praying, and feeling determined. 

There are also some personal things I'm praying about. These are areas between God and me. The ones that set me to pondering and wondering. The areas that bring me to my knees daily before the One I love. He is so kind and good. There is no stress or confusion in His presence, only peace. He is helping me to surrender the little things now so that, I assume, to be able to surrender bigger things later. What those things will be I have not a clue, nor do I focus on them. 

Many times I am encouraged by other people's stories of waiting and trusting in the Lord's timing and purposes. One story in particular lately has been very uplifting. It's the story of John and Betty Stam. They were missionaries to China for a short time during the 1930's. I had never heard of them until I read Elisabeth Elliot's book, "Quest for Love" (which is a great read by the way. If you're single and desiring marriage, you should read it).  Everything about John and Betty's story is about seemingly impossibility, trust and surrendering to the lordship of Jesus Christ...even unto death. 
John Stam was born in NEW JERSEY in the early twentieth century. He was seated at his desk in business school one day in 1922 when he handed his life over to the Lord. His interest in making money waned. He just wanted God's will for his life. This led him to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In the mean time, on the other side of the world in CHINA, the Lord was also preparing Betty Scott to attend Moody. It was there that John and Betty met. John noticed in Betty something that he had never found before, something that strangely attracted him. But he held his feelings so firmly in check that no one knew of his attraction to her. 

Betty assumed she would return to China as a missionary, but at Moody the continent of Africa began to consume her heart. Her attention had also been drawn to John Stam, whose call to China was clear and sure. I can imagine her human and natural feelings. Was it to be Africa or China? Marriage or singleness? The wonderful thing about Betty was that her fears lead her to the Lord and in return she received His gentle reassurance. Finally, after much prayer and deep testing, the call to China was confirmed in Betty's heart during her second year at Moody. 

During their two years at Moody, John never preferred one girl above another. He had kept entirely free in heart and outward relations, expecting not only to go to China unmarried but to remain so for at least five years! His hope was to engage in pioneering evangelistic work. He was ready to offer for the mountain tribes of the west or the Moslems of Sinkiang. But now he faced a new challenge - He realized he was in love with Betty. Now what? 
We are told that, " Betty, with her pure, sweet nuture, did not hide from him that his love might be returned." She had found in John spiritual fellowship, a common missionary vision, and a deep unity of heart in the things that mattered most. But still, the way was not clear for them. They continued to press forward with their plans, trusting God's wisdom. John wrote to his father: 
"Betty and I have prayed much about this, and I am sure that, if our sacrifice is unnecessary, the Lord will not let us miss out on any of His blessings. Our hearts are set to do His will...But this is true, isn't it, our wishes must not come first? The progress of the Lord's work is the chief consideration. So there are times when we just have to stop and think hard."
 They ended up parting ways for eight months. John honestly desired nothing but the will of God, but was he willing to face life without Betty? Long story short, the timing of events were, as always, in God's hands. He made a way for them to become engaged! After their engagement though, they were again parted for an entire year. This would make, I believe, 3 or 4 years of waiting for them. Finally, they were married on October 25, 1933.  Their baby, Helen Priscilla, was born on September 11, 1934 :) However, after only a little over a year of marriage, and keep in mind the waiting before that,  in December John and Betty were captured by Chinese Communists, marched half-naked through the village streets, and beheaded. The baby was discovered thirty hours later by Mr. Lo, a pastor. She was lying on the bed, safe and warm in her zippered sleeping bag, apparently none the worse for her long fast. In the bag were an extra nightgown, some diapers, and two five-dolloar bills, just enough to provide the little rescue party, which included young mothers who fed the baby along the way. 

And so, this is the story of John and Betty Stam. 

God alone was enough. Is He enough for me? For you? 

Many years before this part of their story began, Betty's prayer of commitment and consecration acquired powerfully striking significance in view of the manner of their death.
"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all 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, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever." 

I want to be like Betty. I find strength in her story, because she was an ordinary girl with a human heart and feelings. She accepted changes with grace and allowed her circumstances to draw her closer to Christ instead of wavering. She was like Mary when Mary said to the angel, Gabriel, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." 

As Christians, this ought to be our heart's cry. 

I leave myself, and you, my reader, with the lyrics to a song I love. 

God Alone Is Enough
By John Michael Talbot

Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing frighten you
For everything passes
But God will never change

Patient endurance
Will obtain everything
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all

God alone is enough
God alone is enough
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all

God alone is enough
God alone is enough
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all

So let nothing trouble you
Let nothing frighten you
Everything passes
But God will never change

Patient endurance
Will obtain everything
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all

God alone is enough
God alone is enough
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all

God alone is enough
God alone is enough
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all

Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing frighten you
For everything passes
But God will never change

Patient endurance
Will obtain everything
Whoever has God
Wants for nothing at all



John and Betty Stam

2 comments:

  1. Megan, you're an amazing writer, please keep it up! Thank you so much for sharing! So encouraging! You're such a beautiful light shining for our Father!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Stephanie!!!

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