We may be familiar with the movie “Chariots of Fire” which portrayed Eric Liddell who won the 400 meters race in the 1924 Olympic games in Paris. Because of his devout Christian faith and principles, he refused to run in his best event the 100 meters’ race because it was held on Sunday.
Liddell was born in China to missionary parents. He returned to China and served under the most difficult and dangerous occasions. As the Japanese increasingly took over control and ruthlessly ruled China, he continued his work. Eventually, he sent his wife and children out of the country. He was interned in a camp along with 1,500 or more non-Chinese personal.
In his book, “For the Glory,” Duncan Hamilton writes of his heroism. “In his own way he proved that heroism in war exists beyond the churned-up battlefields. His heroism was to be utterly forgiving in the most unforgiving of circumstances.”
A fellow internee spoke of him, “It is rare indeed when a person has the good fortune to meet a saint. He came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.” Another missionary said of him, he had a calming and very stable influence in the camp. “He was always so positive -even when there wasn’t much to be positive about and he carried the weight of others’ worries and burdens without hesitation.”
“He didn’t blame God for the situation we were all in. He believed God was in that situation with us.”
Preaching on the Sermon on the Mount, he taught, “I’ve begun to pray for the guards and it’s changed my whole attitude toward them. When we hate them we are self-centered.”
His efforts on behalf of others took its toll; yet he kept up doing more than his duties. He died in 1945 before the war ended. The Chinese a memorial to the camp and especially to Eric Liddell because of his tireless work on behalf of everyone with whom he came into contact.