In the 1960's an Australian by the name of Graham Staines traveled to India. He would devote his life to ministering to those suffering from the terrible disease of leprosy. I suppose to friends, it seemed like he would always be a bachelor but in the early 80's an Australian nurse by the name of Gladys arrived in the area. They married in 1983 and God blessed them with three children.
On January 22, 1999. Graham and his two son, aged 10 and 6, attended the annual Jungle Camp where they met with other Christians. Afterwards, he and his sons bedded down for the night in their vehicle.
Shortly after midnight, a mob descended upon the vehicle. According to later testimonies, they first flattened the tires with an axe to prevent escape. The the windows were smashed and Graham and his two young sons were beaten before the vehicle was torched. There were some who attempted to help them but were prevented from doing so by the angry mob.
In retrospect, Gladys could see how God was preparing her for this moment. The week before, during her devotions she had been asked by the Lord if she was willing to give all that she loved to Him. It was not a question which she answered lightly but finally, after many tears, her answer was yes.
When we hear accounts such as this, our first response is to cry out to God, "Why?" The Staines were laboring for God. They had left their home in Australia to minister to the sick, the poor and the lost. They had dedicated their lives to Christ so why this? Their precious little boys! Why did they have to suffer such a horrible death!
These are the times when we must do as Gladys and her daughter, Esther did. Trust in the Lord and... forgive. You see, the story did not end here. Those responsible for leading the mob were apprehended and brought to trial. They were found guilty. Gladys saw the killers of her husband and sons. What was her response? Forgiveness. She knew she had to forgive. You see, forgiveness is not optional for a Child of God. We must forgive... even as God forgave us.
This blog is part of a series entitled Those Who Counted The Cost...And Paid It
Forgiveness is not optional.
Hmmm, that's one of those statements that sounds so simple... . but let it sink in... . how short we fall... thanks for the reminder, K