Vale of TearsThe Courage to keep going
The Courage to keep going
For your sake we are in danger of death at all times; we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered . . . For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily . . . As a result, we have stopped relying on ourselves and have learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. He rescued us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again.
Romans 8:23 TEV
Any one of the repeated beatings or prolonged confinements that Paul experienced in oppressive Roman prisons might have deterred a lesser man from pursuing his God-given assignment. It would certainly have been easy for him to hunker down into “survival mode,” but Paul had learned not to be at the mercy of circumstances, but to press on into the heart of God.
In this he seems to me to be in the direct spiritual lineage of Jacob, who wrestled with the angel and refused to let him go until he blessed him.30 With supreme courage, we like Paul must resist “the thief, the murderer and the destroyer” and pursue our mission, refusing to bow the knee to the subliminal invitations the powers of darkness send our way: “I’ll stop bothering you, if only you’ll stop being such a thorn in my side!”
How infinitely poorer the Church would be without the letters Paul took the trouble to pen from prison! May the Lord likewise strengthen our resolve to be active in sharing our faith, in season and out of season, so that we will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ (Philemon 6, 2 Timothy 4:2).
In Life in the Overlap Jean Darnell describes how she once sat down by mistake in a first-class railway carriage. Another woman entered her compartment, clearly depressed and in no mood to talk. This suited Jean fine. She was exhausted from her speaking schedule and had no desire whatsoever to indulge in small talk. The Lord had other ideas, however, and insisted that she reach out to the woman. It turned out that she was on her way to a solicitor’s office to finalise a divorce.
By God’s grace, Jean was able to lead this woman to the Lord. When they reached the terminus, she rang her husband to tell him what she had done. He was a long time answering. “I’m sitting on the edge of my bed with a gun in my hand,” he replied. “I just can’t go on living without you.”
The amazing outcome to this story is that this family is now serving the Lord – and all because Jean stepped out of her comfort zone to share the gospel.
Reflect and Pray
steep my soul in the truths of Your Word
until they fill my mind.
Shine the clarity of Your light
into all that is out of focus,
and breathe faith where unbelief reigns.
Where powers of darkness are scheming
I take my stand in Jesus’ name against them,
and declare myself willing
to step outside my comfort zone
whenever You call.