A Christian author and his wife are sharing their experience of heartbreak and loss to show the true meaning of sacrifice. 

For the past 40 years, Nik and Ruth Ripken have spent their days in ministry with people experiencing persecution in countries across the world. Much of their work has been done in the Middle East and some of their stories can never be shared.

The couple's most significant sacrifice, however, came over a decade ago, when their 16-year-old son passed away.

It was Easter Sunday, 1997. While in Nairobi, Timothy Ripken died after an asthma attack caused him to go into cardiac arrest, reports Faithwire.

Ripken, who authored the soon-to-be-released devotional, The Insanity of Sacrifice, says his son's death remains his and his wife's greatest sacrifice.

But the tragic loss of their son, while still heavy on the couple, has allowed the Ripkens to see God at work.

The story of the couple's work with believers being killed in Somalia at the same time as their son's passing is one way God has "opened doors among believers in persecution," Ripken says.

"Our son’s death has caused believers in persecution to tell us intimate stories and things that have happened to them that they probably would’ve never told without the death of our son."

Empathy and redemption are just two of the powerful lessons that Timothy's death has brought forward for Ripken and his wife. In this most recent book, Ripken delves into the "insanity" of sacrifice, his third book focusing on insanity in faith.

"Even today, thinking about almighty God sending his Son to be crucified is one of the most senseless acts of spirituality in all of history," says Ripken. "What God does that, other than our God, the Father, who gave his Son to die on the cross for us?"

While his use of the word insanity has received criticism from some, Ripken explains that he thinks it is the best way to describe God's incredible and unrelenting goodness, especially in the midst of tragedy.

The author shared that his greatest fear is that believers around the world are missing their opportunity for resurrection.

“If I’ve learned anything from leaders in persecution, it’s that if you don’t have crucifixion, if you’re not willing to sacrifice, if you miss sacrifice, you miss resurrection.”