October 5, 1573
In April, 1573, a fairly young woman, a mother of a 15-year old son and a three-year old son, was arrested for studying the Bible. Maeyken Wens, along with a few others, were imprisoned at Antwerp (Belgium). The eclectics of the day hoped to persuade her to renounce her faith in Christ. She did not.
On October 5, she along with the others, was pronounced to execution by burning at the stake the following day. She wrote a last letter that day to her sons, in which she gives them these words, in part: “. . . hence cease not to fear God because of this temporal death. . .”
One of the cruel things that accompanied her death at the stake was a procedure that disabled her tongue. The executioners ordered a tongue screw disable the tongue. After the execution, her son, Adriaen, sifted through the ashes at her stake and found the tongue iron and kept it.
You can read a full account of this at the site http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/martyrs143.htm
I read it from a book someone recently gave me titled The One Year Christian History: A daily glimpse into God’s Powerful Work by E. Michael and Sharon
I ask myself, as you may also, would I have been as steadfast? Would I have positively been able to write a letter to my children telling them that it is always best to stay loyal and true to my Savior? Yes. Last week in Oregon, those who answered, “I am a Christian” were executed. They did not have the opportunity to leave a letter of affirmation behind. The English who fled to other nearby countries for their safety in the late 1500’s still faced persecution and death. As a result, they left behind their earthly holdings and fled to a new world, and America later became an established nation with rights to freedom of religion. Will Christians be steadfast enough to hold on to that right?
Let it be said of us as Paul said of Timothy: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother, Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in three also” that our faith is lived out into next generations by faithful example in word and in deed.