“Go Straight through”
“Go Straight through”
Thinking of the incredible pressures and challenges our leaders are facing at the moment . . .
A few years ago, as I took our dogs for their daily outing, I heard the Lord say to me, “Go straight through.”
I had intended this to be a serious prayer walk rather than a country stroll because I was about to call people to pray and fast for the nation, and wanted to commit the whole venture to the Lord. It was when I came to a forty yard stretch where the path vanished completely beneath a seemingly impenetrable barrier of high nettles and thick thorns that the lord reminded me of that word, “Go straight through.”
Arguing with the Lord is rarely the wisest thing to do, but I felt I had to have a go, if only to double check my leading. “You’ve got to be joking, Lord!” But since the Lord was giving me no freedom to make a detour, I advanced tentatively forwards with arms aloft, treading the nettles down as best I could.
At one point my feet became entangled in the thick undergrowth that I tumbled over, narrowly missing most of a bed of nettles, but landing right in the midst of a thick tangles of brambles, which scratched me all over. I found myself reflecting on a phrase commonly associated with the third station of the Cross, “Jesus fell for the first time.”
I was glad when I reached the end of my walk safely, but happy too that I had followed His leading to pass through unexpected challenges. When I shared this with a friend, she had a clear sense that this ‘forty-yard stretch’ had been was a prophetic inspiration to pray for all who are called to walk along paths surrounded by thorns – not least our national and spiritual leaders.
Praise God that Jesus was given the strength to endure to the end! Think of all that would not have happened had Jesus collapsed and died on the way to Golgotha. Think too of times when you have achieved or overcome something because you were willing and prepared to push through in faith.
But then, to be true to the whole picture, think of other occasions when you were too prompt to give up. Jesus unfolded the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 to encourage His disciples to pray always and not give up, precisely because He knew how often we would face the temptation to do so. How blessed are those who persevere until they end! And how we admire those who do so
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him . . .
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 1:12 and 5:11)