When the interdict was imposed on Prague, Hus was faced with a painful decision. Being such a dedicated pastor, Hus felt he would be a hireling if he left the sheep during trouble: A good shepherd always stayed with his flock.
Roberts Liardon tells us that Hus was a shepherd. He was never so caught up in his cause for reform that he neglected the “sheep” under his care. But, on the other hand, Hus realized that if he stayed, his members would be severely persecuted, maybe even to death. I can only imagine the agonizing moments that Hus must have spent, wondering what to do. He finally made the heartbreaking decision that, for the good of his members, Bethlehem Chapel, and the city of Prague, he needed to leave. When nobles in southern Bohemia offered him refuge, Hus knew God favored the exile.
Nevertheless, Hus intended to secretly visit the chapel to “strengthen the sheep” whenever the opportunity presented itself. One of Hus’ outstanding characteristics was that he was never so caught up in his cause for reform that he neglected the duties of pastoral care. He was truly a spiritual father.
Roberts Liardon tells us that on October 15, 1412, Hus left Prague. He remained somewhere in the vicinity, but no one knew where. We do know that from January 1413 until Easter, Hus secretly visited the city from time to time. When Hus visited, the officials soon heard he was back, but they didn’t impose the interdict unless he preached. He wrote, “But when I preached once, they immediately stopped the services, for it was hard for them to hear the Word of God.”
We also know that he continued to preach in various places outside Prague, and I’m sure many traveled to hear him. He wrote, “I have preached in towns and marketplaces; now I preach behind hedges, in villages, castles, fields, woods. If it were possible, I would preach on the seashore, or from a ship, as my Savior did.”