Take courage, fainting Christians: you are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses! The race that you are running has been run by millions before; you think that no one ever had such trials as yourself—but every step that you are journeying has been safely walked by others; the valley of the shadow of death has been securely passed by a multitude of trembling, doubting ones like yourself. They had their fears and anxieties, like you—but they were not cast away. The world, the flesh and the devil can never overwhelm the weakest person who will set their face towards God. These millions journeyed on in bitterness and tears like your own, and yet not one perished—they all reached their eternal home.
– J.C. Ryle –
The only thing I wish to point out with the quote above is the word “safely.” I don’t feel that “every step that you are journeying has been SAFELY walked by others;” perhaps “properly walked out” or “persevered by others”, but I want to be careful of calling the path we walk safe. I feel that we are called to risk and to step out in faith, even whilst we are unsure. God promises to be with us (Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20) and the riches attained in walking in obedience with God and attaining heaven far outweigh any earthly delight this world, the flesh, or satan himself could muster up.
I feel that this concept if summed up well in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quote:
“[The first call every Christian experiences is] the call to abandon the attachments of this world. . . When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship).
May we have a resolve to pursue Christ, regardless of the current, earthly implications, with a confidence that God is being magnified and glorified as we find our satisfaction in Him and Him alone (cf. John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”). May we look to those who went before us (cf. Hebrews 11, Foxes Book of Martyrs) and be encouraged by our founding church fathers in fighting for Truth, and spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
May the Lord, God be with you today — empowering you, equipping you, and residing in you — and “to the end of the age” (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).