In 1900, 188 foreign missionaries and around 32,000 Chinese Christians were massacred in China during the Boxer Rebellion. The mobs of Boxers would scream Sha kuei-tzu (“kill the devils”) as they attacked Christians. All foreigners and Christians, both those from overseas and Chinese converts, came under frequent attack by the Boxers, whose aim was to rid China of all foreign influence.
Among the martyrs were Jane Stevens, who, along with her colleagues Dr and Mrs William Millar Wilson and Mildred Clarke, was killed in a massacre at T’ai-yüan-fu, Shan-si, in 1900. They had taken refuge in the premises of the Baptist Missionary Society. The city gates were closed so that neither foreigners nor Chinese Christians could escape.
Jane, a nurse, had left England for China in 1885. She spent much of her time in T’ai-yüan-fu, where, as well as assisting in medical work, she received numerous women visitors, visited Chinese homes and taught school children. Jane struggled with her health, and during a furlough period back in England a friend had asked if she did not think a position in her home country would be easier for her. Jane replied with a look of peace and joy on her face, “I don’t feel I have yet finished the work God has for me in China. I must go back. Perhaps – who knows? I may be among those who will be allowed to give their lives for the people.”
Ah, well we know
What faith and reason say, that love and power,
Alike unfailing, bless us every hour:
That, that is best
Which God deems so;
That all is good which cometh of His will; Yet “why, oh, why?” our hearts are asking still,
Nor will they rest.
We can but wait;
Life’s mystery deepens with the rolling years,
Life’s history, hardly read through blinding tears, Seems dark and vain;
Yet not cold Fate,
But a kind Father’s hand controls our way,
And when that hand has wiped the tears away
All shall be plain.
Marshall Broomhall (1866-1937) of China Inland Mission
Originally published in Heroes of Our Faith by Patrick Sookhdeo (Isaac Publishing)