There are days of common faith. Of spelling tests and safe travels, of thanks for food and the graces of life.
There are days of uncertain faith. Of medical tests and job loss, of breakups and breakdowns.
And there are days of desperate faith. Of fading dreams and lost control. And of knowing death is a few heartbeats away.
As news broke of the twenty-one Coptic Christians in Libya who have been savagely killed by insatiable evil, I thought of the powerful message our pastor, Dr. Ted Traylor, preached on Sunday. He spoke of godly boldness and giving of one’s self in humble service for God and others. Just hours later, his words took new meaning in light of the images I was seeing across my Twitter feed.
There, knelt down along a remote beach, is a quiet line of brave believers. Praying their final offerings this side of heaven.
Those of whom this world was not worthy. Hebrews 11 before us in orange jumpsuits.
In the light of such godly confidence and courage, I realize how easily my words, promises to live boldly for Christ, can just come out (and really without much thought). But are they lived out in the days, weeks, months ahead? Where are these vows when the going is tough? When I want to back down to be liked or non-controversial? Or when my freedom, and perhaps life, is challenged?
Can I have the faith, like these modern day martyrs, of the saints who have gone before me?
Abel was righteous. Whose life speaks now after death.
Enoch was commended as one who pleased God.
Noah lived in holy fear through a faith that condemned the world.
Abraham obeyed. And went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Sarah trusted the promise of the Promiser.
Jacob worshipped as he was dying.
Moses chose mistreatment along with the people of God rather than pleasure. Considered disgrace for Christ a greater value than treasures of the world. A sojourner, looking ahead for his reward.
And others, “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised. Who shut the mouths of lions. Quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword. Whose weakness was turned to strength. Who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
I don’t know, honestly. Making a promise is just the beginning. But this world needs truth speakers, with words empowered not by opinion, but through the Holy Spirit. Who lead not based on political persuasion or the popular wind of culture, but on the eternal word of God.
I struggle, yet long to live close to the cross I am called to bear. And, in the end, I want to be remembered as Hebrews 11:16 says:
As one who lived so God is not ashamed to be called my God.
(For further study I encourage you to read Hebrews 11 in its entirety.)