Afraid? Of What?

By Ruth Bell Graham   •   October 2, 2007   •   Topics:

Our mission board made it a policy never to pay ransom, a policy that spread rapidly by word of mouth. As a result, none of our missionaries was ever held for ransom. One, however, was killed in cold blood.

“Uncle” Jack Vinson was recovering from an appendectomy when bandits pillaged a village inhabited by a number of Christians. He insisted on going to check on them. While he was there, the bandits returned and Uncle Jack was captured. After being roped together with a long line of prisoners, he was ordered to start walking. Because of his recent surgery, he was unable to keep up.

A young Chinese girl heard a bandit threaten to shoot him if he did not hurry. Uncle Jack replied, “If you shoot me, I shall go straight to heaven.” The soldier shot him.

When “Uncle” Ham heard this account, he wrote a poem that I think reflects the feelings of all those missionaries under whose influence we were reared:

Afraid? Of What?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid–of that?

Afraid? Of What?
Afraid to see the Savior’s face
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid–of that?

Afraid? Of What?
A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;
Darkness, light, O heaven’s art!
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid–of that?

Afraid? Of What?
To enter into Heaven’s rest,
And yet to serve the Master blest,
From service good to service best?
Afraid–of that?

Afraid? Of What?
To do by death what life could not–
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid–of that?

–E.H. Hamilton

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