The Triumph of John and Betty Stam

Recently I read the biography of John and Betty Stam. It was a short, powerful work.
John and Betty Stam were missionaries to the villages of an Asian country in the early 20th century during a Communist takeover of that country. They had a 7 month old daughter, Helen, and a fruitful work there in Asia.
The Communists had begun their “glorious revolution.” One of their first tactics was to eliminate those who opposed them. On December 8, 1934, the Communists stormed the city where John and Betty had been visiting.
In the 4-5 minutes Betty had between when she realized the Communists were going to take them captive and the time the Communists burst through their doors, she made every preparation for the baby that she could. She knew, from the Communists’ usual practice of taking over a village, that if they did not kill the baby, they would simply leave it to die. So, she wrapped the baby up and put a bottle in the blanket and even pinned some money in on the inside so that if anyone found the baby they would have the means to provide for it for a few days.
The Communists did exactly what she expected. They look her and John out to a hill and shot and killed them. They left the baby girl.
The little baby girl laid there for 2 days… and no one was even there to hear her cry because the Communists had killed and evacuated the whole village.
One of the Stam’s friends heard about the massacre and came to the village, hoping to find John and Betty’s bodies so he could bury them. As he was passing through the village, remarkably he heard the baby crying, found her on the kitchen table, and took her to some other missionary friends where the little girl was evacuated to America and raised to adulthood by her aunt and uncle.
I was struck by what one of their friends later said in reflection on this event. God had so remarkably and providentially cared for this little girl they left behind… was there any doubt he could not also have saved the lives of John and Betty had He wanted?[1] There was no doubt that God was not supernaturally guiding all these events. At the very least, he said, we can be sure that John and Elisabeth’s massacre did not happen because God was not in control.
The question is, “Are we willing to trust the plan of God even when it doesn’t include our deliverance?” Can we trust the loving providence of God even when He ordains we bring glory to His name through pain? John and Betty’s biography goes on to explain how John and Betty’s story taught many of their recent converts and seekers the value of the Gospel. If they were willing to die for it, and not run, when danger came, what was this message they were preaching.
If you are sure a loving God is in control of your life, can you go through pain, and suffering, or a time of struggle?
I say that because we have an even more remarkable evidence of God’s sovereign, loving control than God’s care for baby Helen, and that is the cross of Jesus. There God proved that He was in control of all things, using them all for our good, and that His compassion is beyond anything we can imagine.
If God gave Himself for us like that, can we not trust Him with the rest of our lives?
[1] ‘Everything about her deliverance [they wrote] tells of God’s love and power. And we know that if He could bring a tiny helpless infant, not three months old, through such dangers in perfect safety, He could no less surely have saved the lives of her precious parents, had that been in His divine plan for them.'” The Triumph of John and Betty Stam, p. 116

Recently I read the biography of John and Betty Stam. It was a short, powerful work.

John and Betty Stam were missionaries to the villages of an Asian country in the early 20th century during a Communist takeover of that country. They had a 7 month old daughter, Helen, and a fruitful work there in Asia.

The Communists had begun their “glorious revolution.” One of their first tactics was to eliminate those who opposed them. On December 8, 1934, the Communists stormed the city where John and Betty had been visiting.

In the 4-5 minutes Betty had between when she realized the Communists were going to take them captive and the time the Communists burst through their doors, she made every preparation for the baby that she could. She knew, from the Communists’ usual practice of taking over a village, that if they did not kill the baby, they would simply leave it to die. So, she wrapped the baby up and put a bottle in the blanket and even pinned some money in on the inside so that if anyone found the baby they would have the means to provide for it for a few days.

The Communists did exactly what she expected. They look her and John out to a hill and shot and killed them. They left the baby girl.

The little baby girl laid there for 2 days… and no one was even there to hear her cry because the Communists had killed and evacuated the whole village.

One of the Stam’s friends heard about the massacre and came to the village, hoping to find John and Betty’s bodies so he could bury them. As he was passing through the village, remarkably he heard the baby crying, found her on the kitchen table, and took her to some other missionary friends where the little girl was evacuated to America and raised to adulthood by her aunt and uncle.

I was struck by what one of their friends later said in reflection on this event. God had so remarkably and providentially cared for this little girl they left behind… was there any doubt he could not also have saved the lives of John and Betty had He wanted?[1] There was no doubt that God was not supernaturally guiding all these events. At the very least, he said, we can be sure that John and Elisabeth’s massacre did not happen because God was not in control.

The question is, “Are we willing to trust the plan of God even when it doesn’t include our deliverance?” Can we trust the loving providence of God even when He ordains we bring glory to His name through pain? John and Betty’s biography goes on to explain how John and Betty’s story taught many of their recent converts and seekers the value of the Gospel. If they were willing to die for it, and not run, when danger came, what was this message they were preaching.

If you are sure a loving God is in control of your life, can you go through pain, and suffering, or a time of struggle?

I say that because we have an even more remarkable evidence of God’s sovereign, loving control than God’s care for baby Helen, and that is the cross of Jesus. There God proved that He was in control of all things, using them all for our good, and that His compassion is beyond anything we can imagine.

If God gave Himself for us like that, can we not trust Him with the rest of our lives?

[1] ‘Everything about her deliverance [they wrote] tells of God’s love and power. And we know that if He could bring a tiny helpless infant, not three months old, through such dangers in perfect safety, He could no less surely have saved the lives of her precious parents, had that been in His divine plan for them.'” The Triumph of John and Betty Stam, p. 116seo yandex

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  1 Comment

  1. Russ Rosser   •  

    I believe Helen married Lloyd Fesmire, a pastor and a roommate of Billy Graham at Wheaton. God is faithful
    Russ

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