“Quickly! The girl is escaping!”
The Junta soldier’s voice rasps with hatred, as his colleague raises a rifle towards me. He narrows his eyes, and pulls the trigger.
God, this must be it. Use my death to show Your glory.
I open my eyes. Nothing has happened. The Junta soldier loads the rifle with a bullet, giving me an opportunity to run. I run as though spurred on by an invisible force. My thin legs seem to be carrying me towards the long grass along the outskirts of the blazing wooden hut.
The clattering of angry boots pursues me from behind. For a moment, silence fills the dark, tense air as the Junta search around. The faint light of a torch is shining across the blades of grass. I lie low, on a bed of wet, flattened pasture, my heart racing and my head so dizzy that I feel sick.
The smell of smoke rises towards my nostrils, and my eyes fill with tears. I cover my mouth in case I make a sound. Is it some part of God’s plan, that twenty Christians should be arrested? Twenty young lives full of promise. Twenty families mourning over their loved ones, not bearing to think of the torture they face in the infamous labour camps.
Yes, twenty people simply gathering to watch the Jesus film, now facing the future they have always known is inevitable. Satan is obviously not pleased. To be a Christian, or part of the ‘C-virus’, as we are known to the Junta, is to live a life of suffering. I remind myself of this, as I crouch in wait.
Lord, use my death to show Your glory. Let this be an example.
The footsteps continue to swish through the long blades, the men’s voices becoming more fierce and determined.
“To be Burmese is to be a Buddhist!”
Lord, forgive these young men. They believe that they are doing what is right for their country. They think that it is I who am lost - but Lord, find these soldiers, and speak to their hearts.
I try to slither further into the grass. But it’s too late. The soldier’s wet boots glisten before me, as the torch shines down, highlighting my body. He stops, but remains silent, as he crouches down in front of me. I can feel his breath on the back of my neck. Yet I remain still, and fight the urge to cry out.
More footsteps are approaching now, as the soldier calls the others over. For a moment I wonder what they will do. Perhaps they will rape, capture or kill me - or maybe all three. I push the thoughts to the back of my mind, and think of Heaven which awaits me. I remember a verse I read this morning:
‘In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ *
Images of what those mansions must be like flood my mind, as I wait for what is to happen next. There must be such beauty in Heaven, such unimaginable beauty.
“Have you found her?”
The soldier leans closer, and picks up something beside me.
“No. But I found this.” I can hear him flicking through the pages of my old, worn Bible which I forgot I had been clutching at the time I ran off.
I look up. Haven’t they noticed me?
The other soldier’s face is screwing up with disgust. “Will we burn it?”
“No. Keep it as evidence. Now let’s get moving. She must have come this way.”
They walk past me, flashing the torch along the land behind me.
My heart continues to race, as I lie for what seems like hours, not daring to move. Daylight begins to flood the sky, and I still hear their voices from afar.
“Listen - We’ve wasted enough time out here. She must have made her way through that forest, so there’s no hope of finding her.”
I arise some time later, brushing down my ragged clothes. As I look at the charred remains of the church in front of me, I don’t feel that overwhelming sadness that I expect to. I am strangely filled with a sense of peace.
God's ways are higher than ours. He is moving in this place - in this village, and indeed in this country. And the Junta have just found everything they will ever need.
Author’s note: This is a fictional account of the type of suffering faced by Christians living in Burma today. To find out more about Christians under persecution, the following websites may be of interest.
*John 14 v2 (NKJV)
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