It’s always easy when you’re striding along that wide sunlit road and things are going well. It’s easy to sit sanctimoniously here in my safe place when everything’s going just fine and shout encouragement up to you as you’re desperately scrambling on the rocks. I shout, “Hey you there, I’ll bring you some water when you come down! You can do it, I know you can, keep up the good work, bro! You barely glance my direction for you’re too busy concentrating on placing one foot in front of the other.
But I have been through enough to remember that hard path, and for that I am thankful. And so I scramble up to you and side by side, we make it together. I hand you a canteen and I can see you are grateful.
There have been too many times I have passed people by, too intent on my own story to find out about theirs.
I’m wondering, on this 17th day in the desert with Jesus, if I’ve ever really sacrificed anything for the sake of the cross.
My heart goes out to those today in the persecuted church. The list grows long…….China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Africa, Ukraine. All over the globe people are losing their lives, and not just for the cross. In some cases, just for being different brand of religion or people group.
And right here in America…..it’s getting more unpopular isn’t it, to call yourself a Christian. I like what they went by in the early church, “Followers of the Way.” Yes I like that very much. Every day here in this land, people are waking up with flickering candles, trying desperately to keep them lit no matter what. They cup their hands pretectively around them, against all odds.
I see people, brave ones in difficult situations; making the right choices when it’s neither easy or popular. I see the worry on their faces, wondering how far the paycheck is going to stretch and still not hesitating to give when they see someone else in need. Taking care of sick kids, sick parents, sick friends. Everyday they light their candle of hope and set out again courageously on paths that are steep and getting steeper.
We may not always be exempt from real persecution or threat here in America and I can only hope and pray that we will be good stewards of our safe shores.
And help me, Lord, be one to blow a little breath of encouragement to keep my neighbor’s candle lit instead of being one who snuffs it out with negative attitudes and cynicism. Or grumbling and complaining. I want to be one who flickers the flame to life.
A hope bringer to a world that needs it desperately.
There can be no faith without doubt, no hope without anxiety, and no trust without worry. These shadow us from dawn to dusk, indeed, they appear even in our dreams. As long as we withhold internal consent to these varied faces of fear, they are no cause for alarm, because they are not voluntary. When they threaten to consume us, we can overpower them with a simple and deliberate act of trust: “Jesus, by your grace I grow still for a moment and I hear you say, ‘Courage, It’s me! Don’t be afraid.’ I Place my trust in your presence and your love. Thank you.
This next week will be interesting since I will be traveling and access will be hit and miss. Posts may be a bit “different” So I thank you in advance for your patience. Lori
photo: google images