One of my favorite authors is Randy Alcorn. I fell more deeply in love with God and his plan for the world and the new earth after reading "Heaven", a book that Alcorn wrote. He has also written a couple of fictional books, and since I loved his nonfiction so much, I decided to give one of his books, Safely Home, a try. When I sit down to read a book, I hope to fall in love with the characters, laugh out loud, maybe shed a tear, and generally be entertained. I don’t expect a work of fiction to change the way I think or feel about something as vital as my faith or how I pray. This book changed both my faith as well as how and what I pray for.
The book centers on two main characters and the relationship that they have with God and each other. Most of the story takes place in China as we see the unwavering faith of the Chinese Christians. Their fierce devotion to one another, to the Bible and to spreading the gospel is amazing. I won’t tell you anymore of the story because I don’t want to ruin it for you. The book, though fiction, is based on actual events that have happened to Chinese Christians living today and goes into detail of their amazing commitment to the Faith.
This book changed the way I pray. A big boast for a fictional story I know, but it’s true. I felt so moved by what the Chinese Christians go through and I sat there wondering if I could do the same thing. Could I wake up each day and ask myself, “Is this the day I will die for my faith”? Would I be willing to walk to church several miles in the middle of the night so that I could meet in a secret house church of believers? Do I love the Bible so much that f I was held prisoner I would survive only by meditating on the verses that I had memorized. I would love to say yes, and I hope I could, but I don’t know because I’m not in that position. But what I do know is that the Christians who are persecuted in various parts of the world, this very day, are desperate for a relationship with God. Brothers and sisters in the faith have faced death in 2009, because they refused to compromise their love for Jesus.
Safely Home has made me so much more aware of how fortunate I am to live in a free country, but painfully aware that I take that freedom for granted. Now when I pray I am asking God to give strength to the Christians who, that very day, are being tortured or perhaps even killed. When I get to heaven I long to meet some of the men and women who I’ve prayed for, the ones who perhaps died because they spoke out for my Lord.