I tread upon a beaten path, so narrow and so harsh;
Fol'wing footsteps of bloodied thorns
On the heels of sodden saints,
Wandering, weary, often lost-
It's quite dark down here-
Driven by the blood of saints who often lingered here
Pressing forward, sometimes back, out of fearful dismay I crawl...
Mercy falls on the beaten down; joy on those who mourn.
Chilling how such glor'ous things
Are bathed in crimson stain;
But I press on, through darkest night and crushing blow,
And I'll leave my own trail behind,
Behind for those who follow aft,
That their light may shine.
The product of reading Romans recently. Just a sudden thought that our lives are basically forfeit, and...we walk on a road made with the blood of Christ and the blood of the saints that already passed us by. Tis a somber thing. After hearing what a Judean thorn looks like, I'll never think of a crown of thorns the same way again.
It's easy to forget that to truly follow Christ, we follow him even unto death. We walk a road he first walked, a road marked by the blood of saints that followed after. And we leave our own blood behind, that others after us might not lose their way.There's a reason I read books about martyrs: Never forget the dead. They died for a reason, and you strip it from them when you forget them. So yeah, I read their stories and tell them to others, so that they might not be disgraced for their deeds.
If I'll do that for mortal man, how much more so for our Savior? Or so it should be. There is no greater love than this: That Christ died for us, the ungodly, the God-haters, God-wrestlers, the traitors, prodigals, adulturers, the unlovely.
Catch your breath yet? I sure haven't.
Consider the prostitute who kept running back to an abusive "lover" and fleeing the only man who'd ever loved her, and the only man who ever could love her so deeply.
Yeah. We did that to Jesus the Christ. I did that to Jesus.
I think the greatest fear of a follower of Christ is failing our Savior. We owe him our lives multiple times over, and have only one to give, and I don't know about yall, but I find that bedazzling, bewildering, and terrifying. The stubborn, unyielding portion of me always says, "well, of course you would; wouldn't you? I mean, what can mortal man do to you anyway? What could possibly be worse than denying him?" But the fearful portion of me, the part that hates the thought of sharp objects puncturing my skin, and the part of me terrified of failing and easily shamed, thinks, "Who are you kidding? You're weak; you're ashamed, and you're a worthless little complainer."
Yeah. The internal self-loathing can do that to anybody. The terror that so grips its victims in the face of such adversity has tried to take millions. In many it may succeed, but in so many more, so, so many more, remember: We do cling to the skirts of our Father, and we do find strength and encouragement in the stories of martyred saints.
My point is simply this: Those men and women died so that when later generations--US, you and me, came to the same situation, we would be reminded and encouraged. They were fearful too. They were terrified, humiliated, tortured, and weak. But they too clung to the Hope we have in Christ Jesus.
I'm not saying it's easy. I haven't been there, and I can only imagine what it's like. But I do know this much: I am more worried about the shame and humiliation that comes from stripping Christ and crucifying him again than I am with what I'll do in a given situation. If anything, I pray that my own terror of failure, my own horror at the thought of bringing shame to the God who died a horrific death for me, because of me, in spite of me---that no matter what happens, I would fear facing Him in shame rather than the whips and scourges of men.
Each of us would rather die before humiliating Christ, I think. So dwell on that, my brothers, rather than on the possibility of failure. Take heart and be of courage: Salvation comes from the Lord our God.
Remember the blood of the saints. Recall always the blood of the Christ. Hold onto it; cling to it--for there lies your hope.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Grace, peace, and God bless.