The Peace Child and the Hound of Heaven

Peace Child by Don RichardsonAn earlier post triggered a thought about Peace Child (re-released in October by YWAM), the true story written by missionary Don Richardson. In fact, when we were discussing the exclusive claims of Christianity, I thought I’d mentioned the book, but my search of past posts didn’t turn up any results. If I missed it, and I am being redundant, I apologize.

From what I understand, all of Don Richardson’s books (Eternity in Their Hearts is the other one I’ve read) focus on what he calls his “redemptive analogy” thesis: the idea that each culture has some story, ritual, or tradition that can be used to illustrate and apply the Christian gospel message.

Peace Child is a (true) story that beautifully illustrates his point—how God pursues His own. Don and his wife were missionaries for 15 years to the Sawi, a Stone Age tribe (cannibalistic) of Irian Jaya. Don designed an alphabet suited to the Sawi language and worked on translating the Bible. But after three years living among them, as he shared the gospel with the people, he found the most shocking rejection.

When Don told them the story of Jesus, they revered Judas as the hero. It seems that part of their cultural heritage was to esteem betrayal and the deception of an enemy. The bigger impact, the more dramatic the betrayal, the better. Consequently, Judas did what they valued most, and he did it to the All-powerful One. What greater glory could there be?

You’ll have to read the book to learn the details of what happened next, but through a crisis between neighboring tribes, Don discovered another piece of Sawi culture—the Peace Child. One tribal chief, desiring to bring an end to conflict, could do so by giving his child to the enemy tribe. This was the ONLY way peace could be achieved, and could be assured.

Don now had the metaphor that made sense to the Sawi. Once he explained that Jesus was the Peace Child, then Judas’s act of betrayal was seen for what it was. Through the years of Don’s ministry with the Sawi, half the people came to Christ.

How amazing that God had provided that critical piece of cultural connection so that even a tribe steeped in hatred and revenge, deception and betrayal, could understand God’s redemptive act of yielding up His Son to overcome our hatred of Him.

Yes, Christianity is exclusive—no man comes to the Father except through the Son, because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

But God is also the Hound of Heaven and He pursues us relentlessly.

From Francis Thompson’s poem by that name:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
“Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.”

Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught” (He said),
“And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

Published in: on December 4, 2007 at 12:31 pm  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , ,


  1. Sounds like a fabulous story. I will have to pick this one up.


  2. I read this too. Great stuff…bring Kleenex.


  3. […] The Peace Child and the Hound of HeavenBy Rebecca LuElla MillerBut God is also the Hound of Heaven and He pursues us relentlessly. From Francis Thompson’s poem by that name:. I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine …A Christian Worldview of Fiction – […]


  4. I just finished editing the Christian Audio audio version of Don Richardson’s “Lords of the Earth” (“Peace Child” is still in studio production) & found myself weeping through the last 3rd of the book…I’ve never understood the gospel more than hearing it “for the first time” through the eyes of “Kosahu,” one of the Yali peoples that Richardson writes about. BRILLIANT!


  5. […] “peace on earth, goodwill toward men“, they were proclaiming that Jesus is God’s peace child, who would offer His life to make peace between God and humanity.   Because of Jesus, peace is […]


  6. […] destined for God’s glory, if we will surrender our independence and accept God’s peace child – Jesus, the Messiah, born in the humblest of circumstances in a dirty, smelly manger, but destined […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: