Protestant history is full of tragedy. A poignant example is the story of the French Huguenots killed in Florida in September and October 1565. There are differing opinions on this event. I’ve heard it said that politics were involved, or that the Huguenots would have wreaked havoc on the very new Spanish settlement of St. Augustine if they only had the chance. I personally don’t feel that it matters what all the reasons were. Faith was definitely involved, and it is completely right and fair to call these men martyrs. Nearly 250 Frenchmen lost their lives.
|Matanzas Inlet, near the site of the French massacre|
Both French and Spanish accounts state the bare and ugly facts. Men who just days before had survived a hurricane and shipwreck were captured on the beach. They offered to surrender, and in return had their weapons confiscated and their hands tied behind their backs. They were asked if any might be willing to give up their faith. They chose to die instead of abandoning their beliefs. They are the country’s first Protestant martyrs, and I have been continually hoping and praying that more honor and attention will be given them. They certainly deserve it.
I can’t imagine being in that position. A few simple words would have saved them. Yet they chose to stay true to the faith that had succored them during the most difficult time of their lives. The dream of leaving Europe for a “New World” of religious freedom had been quickly trampled. The story of the Matanzas Huguenots has always been very close to my heart, and when I wear my beloved Huguenot cross, I always think of these men and the sacrifice they made.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved