I am currently reading to my children Douglas Jones’ little book, Huguenot Garden, which is a fictional story of the experiences of one Huguenot family as they seek to be faithful to God under persecution. There are many good points in the book, but one section we read last night stood out as brought home what persecution was like for a family and gave a strong picture of a pastor caring for his people.
The churches had been banned from meeting so the church attended by the main characters had met in the woods on a Sunday. In the middle of the service a boy, who had been positioned as a watchman, came running in to say the dragoons were coming. The pastor encouraged the people to flee into the woods.
“But Pastor De Laune, his wife, and two children stood firm.
Father and Uncle Philippe paused to listen and offer help, and the two elders spoke hurriedly to the Pastor.
‘But you must go. You will be imprisoned if you stay,’ stressed Elder Pasquier.
With a quick, authoritative whisper, Pastor De Laune declared to both elders, ‘But a hireling who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.’ I am not a hireling. Please brethren, take my wife and children and go now.’
Elder Pasquier, in exasperation, turned to the Pastor’s wife, ‘Dear Hannah, please plead for your husband’s life. Persuade him to leave. He may be separated from you and your children forever.’
Hannah gently touched the elder’s cheek and smiled. ‘He is a faithful watchman, called and under duty to Christ to protect these sheep. I would expect nothing less from him.’
‘You see,’ added the Pastor, ‘I may fail like Adam, but my wife is no Eve. Go now, I will keep the dragoons’ attention here. Care for my wife and children, if need be.’ After a quick embrace of her husband, Hannah and all the others ran into the forest.
No one looked back at the Pastor, but if they had, they would have seen him calling the dragoons over to himself.
‘Over here, over here. I am the one you want,’ he called out.” (pp. 103-104)
Though this account is fictional there are many historical accounts which are quite similar. In the story, the pastor is never seen or heard from again after being drug back into town by horse.
“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).