As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Rock

Years ago, I read a biography about John and Betty Stam, young American missionaries to China who were martyred for their faith. Their story was inspiring on many levels. This young couple lived in a hostile environment, were eventually captured by Communists, and were taken, along with their three-month-old baby daughter, from their home in 1934 to face imminent death. The night of their capture, John penned these words to his fellow workers at China Inland Mission:

Dear Brethren,
My wife and baby and myself are today in the hands of the Communists, in the city of Tsingteh. Their demand is twenty thousand dollars for our release.
All our possessions and supplies are in their hands, but we praise God for peace in our hearts and a meal tonight. God grant you wisdom in what you do, and us fortitude, courage, and peace of heart. His is able—and a wonderful Friend in such a time.
Things happened so quickly this AM. They were in the city just a few hours after the ever-persistent rumors really became alarming, so that we could not prepare to leave in time. We were just too late.
The Lord bless and guide you, and as for us, may God be glorified by life or by death.

In Him,
John C. Stam

I was (and still am) inspired by the calm faith that these words reveal. "We praise God for peace in our hearts and a meal tonight." "May God be glorified by life or by death."

I was also particularly moved by God's miraculous protection over the baby and by Betty's tender care and thoughtful provision for her baby daughter, as she knew she was going to her own death. My mother's heart cannot even imagine the anguish.

But to me, perhaps the most inspiring part of the book was this poem included in the epilogue, a poem written by Betty before she was married, before she went to China, before the story that would be her life's story was completed. This beautiful poem, "Stand Still and See," has become a part of me over the years...I have read it, memorized it, meditated on it, shared it with others. It is my prayer that it will touch a place in your heart as you see the Rock in its words, and in your life.


I'm standing, Lord.
There is a mist that blinds my sight.
Sharp jagged rocks, front, left, and right.
Hover, dim, gigantic in the night.
Where is the way?

I'm standing, Lord.
The black rock hems me in behind
Above my head a moaning wind
Chills and oppresses heart and mind.
I am afraid!

I'm standing, Lord.
The rock is hard beneath my feet.
I nearly slipped Lord on the sleet.
So weary, Lord and where a seat?
Still must I stand?

He answered me, and on His face
A look ineffable of grace,
Of perfect, understanding love,
Which all my murmuring did remove.

I'm standing, Lord.
Since Thou hast spoken, Lord I see
Thou hast beset; these rocks are Thee;
And since Thy love encloses me,
I stand and sing.


  1. Great post. I love biographies of great Christian heroes. I haven't read this one. And from the picture of the book, it looks like it might belong to a series? If so, what is the series, it's something I'd be interested in. (Of course, if it's not part of a series, I'd still be interested in reading the book anyway!)

  2. Oh Cheryl ... this poem is so powerful in its message. I read the book many years ago. And I'm sure I read the poem at that time, but I had forgotten it. Thanks so much for sharing it here, where I can copy it and read it over and over. Such needful words. And yes, this biography was so moving. You cannot read it without having tears at the end, even though the tears are tempered by the victory of the lives of these martyrs of the Faith. I bought a book off eBay several years ago that used to belong to Betty Stamm, if I remember correctly. I haven't pulled it out in a long time,and I'm not even sure where I have put it. Maybe I will make that a project; to hunt for that book. I think it was a book of poetry.

  3. Sarah, the book is part of the Men and Women of Faith series. The author is Kathleen White, but I believe that it is out of print. :-( There was one used copy available through Amazon when I checked it this morning, although you may be able to find it from another source too. Of course, you could always borrow mine...I'll just tuck it into the next "happy package"!

    Frances, the book that belonged to Betty Stam sounds like a treasure! Happy hunting!

  4. powerful, inspiring poem--i would love to read the book.


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