With the 2008 Olympics being hosted in Beijing, China, there has been increased attention on many aspects of life in China. One area of focus has been the plight of Christians in China. There are a significant number of Christians in China and their numbers are growing. Untold numbers worship in underground, nonregistered churches. There are numerous reports of Chinese Christians who have been persecuted for their faith, even in 2008. There are many who are not allowed to worship the God they adore freely and openly without fear of retribution, punishment or discouragement.
Safely Home, by Randy C. Alcorn, is an incredible work of fiction based on real life struggles of Chinese believers that Alcorn collected from numerous sources. Alcorn leaves a note for the reader before the book begins:
“The City I’ve called Pushan is fictitious. As far as I know, there is no Pushan in the area I’ve described. If there is, I’ve never been there and have no knowledge of it. While many things in this book have actually happened in one way or another, I have made up the story. Still, I have attempted to keep it authentic and true to life in as many details as possible. Nearly all my characters are fictitious. Some are composites of several real people. Whenever I was thinking of someone in particular I changed his name and life details so it would be impossible to identify him.”
What follows is an amazing, captivating and gripping narrative that, for me, was soul-stirring and faith-challenging. As the 2008 Olympic Games comes to a close, and all the gold, silver and bronze medals awarded, may we remember those killed, abused and thwarted because of their faith. There are no gold medals to award, no accolades to bestow, no interviews to give and no commercials to film.
But for you, faithful ones, wherever you are, keep the faith. God sees. God knows. God hears. Cheers of encouragement and prayers go out for you, all of you Christians who live day-to-day around the world persecuted because of your faith. Sometimes under cover of night in hidden rooms, sometimes with just the threat of and sometimes actual violence, sometimes losing all you have including your families and sometimes paying the ultimate, even your lives. Until you are safely home, God bless you and keep you, my brothers and sisters in the Lord. Godspeed.