A prayer by Betty Scott Stam showed up in my “memories” tab on Facebook a few days ago. You may have never heard of her, but I remember being in “awe” when I first read this prayer and heard her story as a newbie Christian. However, now that I’ve been walking with the Lord for almost 10 years (still kinda a newbie 😜), the weight of how she lived weighs even more.
“Lord, I give up my own plans and purposes, all my own desires, hopes, and ambitions, and I accept Thy will for my life. I give up myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all of my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me now and seal me with Thy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, for to me to live is Christ. Amen.” – Betty Scott Stam
Betty met her husband (John Stam) at Moody Bible Institute while they both studied to be Chinese missionaries. They crossed paths again in China while they worked with the same organization (China Inland Mission) and were married on October 25, 1933 (the same date as Matt and I🥰). Eleven months later their daughter, Helen Priscilla was born. Their days consisted of spreading the Gospel to nearby villages while holding meetings and services at night. This kind of work in China was known to be fairly dangerous. The Communist Chinese government looked at a practice of religion to be a threat to their rule. It was (and still is in many parts) illegal.
I think about how Betty could have done literally anything with her life. She was beautiful, smart, and had the world at her disposal. She could have easily had a nice, quiet life with a husband, children, and a white picket fence. But as you can tell from the heart of her prayer, she had an undivided devotion to Jesus Christ. She understood how brief this life is and how urgent sharing the truth of Christ was to a dying world. She loved Him. She submitted her dreams, goals, and comfortable life to the cross of Christ -“…I give up myself…to be Thine forever.”
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25
Friend, could you imagine? As Christians, we often say “I love God” and “Jesus is my Savior”… But to what cost? How do we live our days? What consumes our thoughts?
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
Three months after the birth of their daughter, their small town was overtaken by Communist soldiers and they were arrested on December 6, 1934.
After spending a night in the local prison, John and Betty were forced to walk 12 miles with the soldiers to another town. They stopped for the night to rest. Betty prepared for the worst and pinned two $5 bills to Helen Priscilla and extra clothes swaddled around her. The next morning, Betty hid the baby in a sleeping bag and left her in the abandoned home they stayed in. The soldiers took them down the streets of Miaoshou where people watched and whispered. A shopkeeper came out of the crowds and asked the Communist soldiers not to kill the Stams. They invaded his home and found a Bible and a book of hymns; he was killed. After marching a little while longer, the soldiers told John to stop and kneel to the ground. People not far off continued watching and whispering in fear. And seconds later, the sound of a sharp sword was drawn. John Cornelius Stam, 29, beheaded. Betty watched her husband die before her eyes, kneeled next to his body, and took her last breath. Elisabeth Alden “Betty” Stam, 28, beheaded. Both killed for spreading Christianity throughout villages and China.
As I write these words, tears stream down my face. What a love for Christ Jesus to give up their young lives for the sake of the gospel. I think about how they only got to experience the sweet gift of marriage for a year and parenthood for three months. Betty knew the reality of what the Holy Spirit living inside of her meant (bringing the Kingdom of God wherever she went). She knew what was on the line – souls destined for hell.
Not everyone will be a missionary overseas. But if you call yourself a Christian, you are called into missions. Wherever you are, in whatever time period you live – your life is meant to draw others into a relationship with Jesus Christ. I once heard someone say something along the lines of “If you actually believe Jesus is real and Christianity is true, then the most evil thing you could possibly do to someone is to not tell them the Truth.”
Let us not waste any more time scrolling for hours on social media or watching Netflix. Let us tell and show our friends, children, neighbors, parents, social media friends – the Truth: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. BUT “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16