Daily Devotional

When we Look Back

by Simon Whitton

5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:5-8 (NIV)

I recently read 'A Band of Brothers' by Stephen Ambrose.  The book follows the story of a World War II American paratroop company - of about 150 young men - for the two year period of their training and active service.

It was this brief period in the crucible of history that tested these men, exposing their true character.  They didn't fully appreciate that these would become the defining moments of their lives, that even small actions would be discussed, written about and reenacted.  They won many honours and awards, and eventually fame as a result of the highly acclaimed HBO television series.

Their war experience, however, did not appear glorious at all.  Quite a few men in the company were killed, many more wounded, some left with permanent disabilities.  They lost innocence and sometimes friends.  All of them experienced fear, some were cowardly, many extraordinarily brave, risking their lives for others and for duty.

The battles were filled with mistakes, confusion and sudden death, yet it was a cool head under these conditions that was valued supremely.  They had to endure extreme hardship, sleeping in holes in the ground in the dead of winter, without sufficient food or equipment, while in constant danger.

Then, from this less than ideal situation, they would have to organize offensives and attack enemy positions, so that towns could be liberated.  This required self-discipline and reliance on one another as they attempted to discharge their duties efficiently.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are in the midst of war.  Now is the time that we play a part in world history.  We have a short opportunity to conduct ourselves honourably and bring liberty to others.  The conditions are less than ideal, but what we suffer and give up is for the freedom of others and the glory of God.  This brief period on earth will count for a very long time to come, and in the next life much will be made of it.

Let's keep our heads, don't panic.  Endure and suffer hardship knowing it is for a purpose.  Do the work God has called you to, for this is the time to be poured out.

When you look back, you're going to see mistakes, pain, confusion and loss. But pray that you'll be able to say: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." And know there is in store for you the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to you on that day.

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