One of the nice things about taking a break away is one can catch up on one’s reading. In my recent vacation, I got to complete reading a book that I had acquired and began to read a year or so ago.
The book was titled “God’s Adventurer: The Story of Stuart Windsor and the Persecuted Church”. I met, Stuart Windsor for the first and only time when I brought the book, at an event I attended when he was the main speaker, talking about his work helping persecuted Christians around the world. We had a pleasant conversation and he graciously inscribed some words at the start of the book. He made a marked impression by his gentle graciousness, determined activism on behalf of those without a voice, and his trust in his Lord who still does wondrous things. I must confess that while I was aware of and impressed by the organisation he had long been part of, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, partly by reading a book by its patron, Baroness Cox, I had not up to then heard of Stuart Windsor. Pertinently, Stuart died three weeks ago and some of the tributes made have been touching (here and here).
The book was a riveting read and one I would gladly recommend to those who really want to gain a true understanding of persecution of Christians around the word and many of the issues as to why this is happening, what is being done and should / could be done to help and what are the challenges. Such a recommendation comes with a health warning. While the intervention of folk like Stuart Windsor and Caroline Cox has made and do make a difference when it comes to helping those sorely oppressed in many countries throughout the world, reading the accounts of God’s Adventurer in many places around the world can also be harrowing as it takes the lid of many actual cases of persecution, suffering and martyrdom.
Reading the book has reawakened my interest and concern for the suffering church (and come to that the needless suffering of any regardless of religion). While on one hand there is a feeling of powerlessness as to what one can do as an individual to help, Stuart Windsor and the organization he has so ably represented over the years has shown the way of what needs to be done, starting with prayer and leading to action. It is a salutary thought that more people have been martyred for their Christian faith in the twentieth century and than the previous nineteen put together and the rate of martyrdom has increased in the twenty first. Somehow, it puts life into perspective and makes us grateful. While I see a time that this will occur in the more affluent West, for those in these other places this is a present reality. As I study the Book of Revelation and its addressing of events in these “last days”, I realize God wants to prepare us for such times and us to support those who are suffering because they have resolved to follow Jesus, regardless of cost.
As for Stuart Windsor, I have little doubt that he will receive the accolade from his Lord: “Well done good and faithful servant”. It has been my privilege to have met you, even if only for two hours.