Burned Alive (story behind the poem)
Graham and Gladys Staines moved from their Australian home to India 30 years ago to serve the lepers of northern Orissa. They left their culture, friends and family behind to be missionaries to the poor and outcast of India.
On Jan. 20th 1999, after faithfully serving the people of India for 3 decades, Graham’s service came to an abrupt and horrifying end. Early that morning as he and his two sons, John (10) and Timothy (13) were all sleeping in their jeep, a mob of radical Hindus attacked them. Setting their jeep on fire, the Hindus watched and taunted as this servant of the Lord and his two young sons burned to death.
Demonstrating true Christian love, Gladys expressed her forgiveness for the perpetrators just hours after learning that her husband and sons had been murdered. “I have no hatred for anyone. I’ve no anger… God gives children, He gives them the life span. He gives and He takes. I am grateful to God for giving him (Staines) this long a life span to serve the people.”
Her testimony has inspired Christians all over India, and caused many Hindus and Muslims to ask, “How can she forgive?” In the wake of this tragedy, Christ is being lifted up, as people see the power of a God who forgives.
As I have prayed for Gladys, asking God how I could bless her, the Lord gave me this poem. I share it here, as a reminder to all of us that this life is short, and that eternity is where we must invest ourselves. I pray that all our lives would be “Fit for the King.”
Fit for a King
God has a garden, with flowers so sweet,
He watches as each comes to bloom.
His love and peace have made them complete,
their beauty could light up a room.
He loves the color and fragrance they bring,
and some to Him are so rare.
That He takes them as only you can when you’re king,
and keeps them next to His chair.
Left in the garden, we miss their smile,
and the sweet perfume of their lives.
But it helps us to overcome this trial,
When we see the joy in His eyes.
For if, these lives bring a smile to His face,
and cause His heart to sing.
Then we must rejoice, and receive His grace,
For these flowers are fit for a King.