Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 16, 2011

Scratched in Stone

Over the past several years I have been privileged to meet persecuted believers in my travels through the 10/40 Window. These survivors of persecution all share a common trait — specifically a remarkable resolve to cling to their faith in Christ at all costs. One friend in particular was arrested and jailed in Bangladesh on charges that he was sharing his faith among Muslims. When a mutual friend of ours went to see about getting him out of jail, the man refused. “Please do not worry about me,” he said. “I have a wonderful opportunity to share my faith with people who have no option but to listen to me.” A month later, his case was dropped and he was released because too many of the other prisoners were coming to faith in Christ. Upon his release my friend went to visit those he had led to faith in Christ while in jail.

Centuries before my friend was imprisoned in Bangladesh, a young lady named Marie Durand was imprisoned in France on charges of being a Huguenot, a member of the Protestant church in France. The Huguenots were critical of the Catholic Church but enjoyed a measure of security under the tolerant terms of the Edict of Nantes, issued in 1598 by Henry IV. However, in 1685 Louis XIV of France issued the Edict of Fontainbleau, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, making it illegal to be a Huguenot. Marie was born in 1715 and grew up in a Protestant home. Her family kept a Bible in a hiding place and secretly practiced their faith. And, in spite of the Edict of Fontainbleau, Marie’s older brother Pierre preached in fields, caves, and homes in defiance of authorities.

In 1730, Marie and her young husband Matthew were arrested and imprisoned on charges of being Huguenots. Marie was offered the opportunity to recant her faith but refused to do so. As a result, she was imprisoned in the Tower of Constance along with thirty other Huguenot women. Her captors offered to release her in exchange for giving up her faith. Again, she refused and instead scratched one word on the stone wall of her prison cell: Resist! Marie chose to stay in prison where she cared for and encouraged the other prisoners who came to love and respect her for her piety and commitment to Christ.

Marie spent the next thirty-eight years of her life imprisoned in the tower. When she was finally released in 1767, she learned that she was the only surviving member of her family and that Matthew, her husband, had also died. Marie returned to her family home where she lived until her death in 1776. Like Marie, the modern-day believers I have met who have suffered persecution all have the same stubborn resolve to resist and to stand firm in their faith. Those of us who live with no threat of physical abuse because of our faith should do no less than live boldly and courageously for Christ. And if the day comes when we too are facing a choice between our faith and fear for our lives, may we remember the single word that Marie scratched on the stone wall of her prison cell: Resist!


  1. Omar,
    I think your blog should be required reading!! I loved this challenge.
    Thank you..

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