Black Easter

by | Jun 1, 1999 | Prayer, Surrender, Trials

When the Communists overran China following the end of World War II, a thousand missionaries with China Inland Mission (CIM) were trapped behind the Bamboo Curtain. CIM ordered a total evacuation in January 1951, but was it too late? Communists were not averse to killing.

Arthur and Wilda Mathews applied for exit visas on January 3. Their living conditions had deteriorated to a bare kitchen where, in the corner, Wilda had converted a footlocker into a prayer nook. Days passed with no action on their requests. Meanwhile citizens were executed on the town’s athletic field every day; from her kitchen Wilda heard the shots. The strain grew unbearable, and she was overwhelmed by fear.

Sunday, March 21, 1951, was, as she later called it, Black Easter. Wilda sneaked into an Easter church service, but when she opened her mouth to sing “He Lives!” No words came out. Returning home, she fell at the trunk, and her trembling fingers found 2 Chronicles 20: “The battle is not yours, but God’s…. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed” (w. 15, 17). Wilda clamped onto those words, and two weeks later she wrote, “The conflict has been terrible, but peace and quiet reign now.”

Over the next two years, the Mathews family repeatedly faced dangerous situations, their baby in harm’s way, their pantry empty, their enemies surrounding them. But Arthur and Wilda committed each situation, one after another, into the Lord’s hands. Miraculously, in God’s timing, all the CIM missionaries got out without a single one being mar­tyred, the last being Arthur Mathews. It was perhaps the greatest exodus since the one in Exodus 14.’

Many times we cannot solve problems, heal hurts, change circumstances, or win our own battles. We must kneel in prayer, then stand to see what He will do. We must leave room for God, staying calm and giving Him time to work.

Robert J. Morgan, The Red Sea Rules. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001, p. 55-56.


Black Easter