Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sophie's Choice

It brings to mind a movie by the same name - the details of which I've long since forgotten. I do remember that Meryl Streep played the part of a woman named Sophie in a German concentration camp during World War II, who had to choose which of her two children would be allowed to live. Both children would die unless she picked one whose life would be spared. She chose her son on the basis of his skin and hair coloring, details that would improve his chances of survival in the days to come. Perhaps the rest of the movie was lost to me after the horror of the one scene in which her daughter was torn from her arms and taken away to the execution chamber, screaming and calling out to her mother to save her. Sophie was tormented by the agony of having to choose between them for the rest of her life.

Another woman named Sophie comes to my mind, a woman who also has had to choose between two lives that are dear to her. One choice would guarantee her life, while the other might lead to her death, physically speaking. But the opposite is true in the spiritual realm. The choice that leads to physical safety and security would likely to her mean spiritual death, while the choice that could cost her her physical life leads to an abundant and prosperous spiritual one.

Sophie is the American name of a 26-year-old woman living in China - a new Christian, having not yet even celebrated the first anniversary of her new birth in Christ. And yet she packs a spiritual resume that puts some of us older Christians to shame. In the ten months since her decision to serve the Lord she has attended a short Bible training class for a month in one city, then studied theology in another city for another two and a half months. Another month was spent witnessing to an unbeliever in a third location, a fourth spent visiting and preaching in a church in yet another spot. And now she's entered the school of ministry through which we've made her acquaintance. She already knows her calling, which is to take the love of Christ back to her hometown, and to see it become a village likewise living for the glory of God. To date she is the only believer in the city limits. She asks for our prayers.

Surely I need this woman to pray for me. My Christian walk seems like a stroll in a park compared to the life she leads, in constant fear of betrayal, discovery, possible imprisonment, torture and death. She's made her choice, and she didn't go the easy route. She didn't choose the life that looked good on the surface but in which she would quickly suffocate in the absence of the Presence of God. Instead she chose radical Christianity - to suffer for Christ's sake - to live in seclusion, to worship in private, but to see God's glory operate in her life in a way that we in our lives of ease can only dream about. She really had no choice, because to live any way other than that to which she's committed herself would torment her the rest of her physical days. And now, having "put her hand to the plow", she's pressing onward with no regrets but instead with every right to expect God to show up in a big way, everywhere she goes.

She really doesn't need her picture on my refrigerator and her name mentioned in my prayers, although that's where both will remain. Sophie's choice has placed her face ever before her Father, and has written her name across His heart.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
(Matt 16:25)




  1. Hello, dear Elaine. This post melted my heart and I'm writing this with tear-filled eyes. Thank you for sharing such a moving testimony to the power of God in Sophie's life. We need to be more aware that the same Spirit that lives in her heart and ignites her to do and endure, also lives in ours. Instead of the pitiful tiny ember that most of us carry, we need to raise it to a glowing flame through prayer and study in the Word. And in reading your blog. God bless you.

  2. Wow, you are right that Christians in America have no idea what other believers have to endure. I too pray that God will protect Sophie. Thank you for sharing this.


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