A Hero Had Climbed Higher
Who is Martin Burnham? His name became a household word to millions of people around the world who prayed for his release from the Abu Sayyaf guerillas who kidnapped him and his wife Gracia on May 27, 2001. For thirteen months, he and Gracia, missionaries with New Tribes Mission, were held captive.
Many still struggle with why God chose to answer prayer by taking Martin home to heaven instead of allowing his release. Did God answer prayer His way, rather than ours?
Martin seemed to feel that God was calling him home through this ordeal. Whether you call it a premonition or the witness of God's Spirit, God helps prepare His children for what lies ahead. In the final weeks of their captivity, Martin wrote personal, intimate letters to his three children, Jeff, 15, Mindy, 12, and Zach, 11. He told Gracia to give the letters to them when she got home.
God's foot soldiers don't run or quit when the going gets tough. The Burnhams lived what Scripture teaches, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:20-21).
Martin Burnham was in the Philippines for one reason. He was on a mission to make Christ known to those who do not know Him. If somebody asked him, "Martin, why are you a missionary when as a pilot you and your family could live more comfortably?" he would probably have answered, "Because people need the Lord."
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. PHILIPPIANS 1:20-21