Mark Batterson tells of a modern day martyr in his book Chase the Lion:
With his hands tied behind his back, missionary J.W. Tucker was beaten and then with sixty of his Christian compatriots he was thrown into the crocodile-infested Bomokande River.
It wasn’t ISIS or Al-Qaeda who claimed responsibility. The attack took place on November 24, 1964, at the hands of Congolese rebels.
Our natural instinct is to feel sorry for Tucker, whose earthly life was seemingly cut short. A holy empathy for his wife and children, who survived the terrorist attack, is biblically mandated. Tucker, like many others who had gone before him, joined a long line of heroes who trace their genealogy back to the first Christian martyrs.
In the grand scheme of God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will, eternal gain infinitely offsets earthly pain. God doesn’t promise us happily ever after. His promises are so much more than that—happily foreverafter.
It was that eternal perspective that inspired J. W. Tucker to risk his earthly life for the gospel. Tucker didn’t fear death because he had already died to self. It wasn’t an uncalculated risk that led J. W.
Tucker into the Congo during a civil war. He counted the cost with his missionary friend Morris Plotts. Plotts tried to convince his friend not to go. “If you go in,” he prophetically pleaded, “you won’t come out.” To which Tucker responded, “God didn’t tell me I had to come out. He only told me I had to go in.” (Adapted from Mark Batterson, Chase the Lion, Multnomah: 2016), p. 107)
“After talking to the elders, I spoke to the church. At our midweek gathering I once again told the story.
I apologised for my duplicity and requested the prayers of the congregation.
What followed was a refreshing hour of confession in which other people did the same. The church was strengthened, not weakened, by our honesty.” (Andy Nash, “Max Lucado’s confession,” Adventist Review, 2012)