A close friend of my, my Pastor left on a trip to Europe, and this just after two terrorist attacks in Europe, the UK to be specific. This reminded me of the story so often played out in the Bible, the New Testament to be exact. Luke 4: 28-30 “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Jesus knew when it was time to go, and time to stay. Jesus was well aware of his surroundings, and we could learn a thing or two.
No matter where we go, or what we’re doing we know that God is always with us, so the scripture says. If the journey is long and dangerous which it is, then it looks like Jesus is the muscle, our bodyguard, our protector. Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; not yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more then meat, and the than rainment? This verse goes on to say all things will be provided to the faithful, and worrying about the day or tomorrow doesn’t actually give you any more ability or power to change the outcome. You can worry about being taller all day long, but that doesn’t mean you will get taller. Psalm 23:4 The Valley of the Shadow Of Death, yet peace and comfort come.
I’ve traveled a lot of places in my 33 years on this world. I have had good and bad travels. The closest I ever came to death or at least as it appeared from where I was standing, or better put nearly falling, was returning to Camp Junction City in Ar-Ramadi from my R&R in Qatar. We were in a C-130 headed for Baghdad. There was a sandstorm while we were supposed to land so we circled for a while. At some point the decision was made to send us back to Qatar, but we needed something first, fuel. The mid air refuel wouldn’t take too long once the plane arrived with two F-16 escorts. The sandstorm was getting pretty bad from what we were told. Just after the fueling process was over we started to turn to make our way back to Qatar. When the F-16’s broke off to head back to where they came from apparently one of them suffered severe engine failure and began to crash. The pilot ejected and was later recovered unharmed. As for us we returned to the bright and sunny island where I’d spend another week before a second transport attempt. On the second trip to Baghdad we were carrying a slew of gym equipment. This time when we reached the City we circled because there was a good bit of firefights around the area we were supposed to land. We’d been circling for a bit when we decided to stand and walk around the plane. Without warning the plane banked hard to the starboard side. My feet went out from under me and I reached up to grab the piece of equipment that I was hopping was safely secured to the deck plate. One of the guys wasn’t so lucky and he hit the bench and the wall of the plane. He screamed he was all right though so not to worry. We leveled off and the pilot told us to get back to the seats and hold on tight. We started to nose dive and the pit of your stomach flew straight into your throat. We leveled out again and without any notice the landing gear dropped and seconds later we were back on Iraqi soil. Once we landed we received word the reason for the drastic and violent course changes was because we were taking fire. The pilot told us it was small arms fire but still following procedure, no one was seriously injured. Our trip came to an abrupt end, but it ended safely.
We realize that in our walk with Christ we aren’t always going to be safe. We realize that sometimes that safety is only an illusion, because in Christianity we may be called to go places where it’s not safe, where being a Christian is still punishable by death. We don’t have to worry about that here in the United States, however, what we have might be far worse for our walk with Christ. We have the world. The world as we know it is corrupt and evil. The world tries to get us, it tries to get us to sin in all different kinds of ways. The world wants us to fail, and the attack on our souls in the US might be worse than the attacks on our bodies in some of the other countries. We have our ways to protect ourselves but only if we carry it with us in our hearts, that’s the word and Holy Spirit of God. When we go out into the world to proclaim the name of Christ we need to keep our wits about us. We must be careful because the Devil slithers around seeking for his next target.
Each and every one of us in on our own journey, our own path, running our own race and at every step of that race there can be an obstacle for us to face. The race is not a sprint, but a marathon for us that will take endurance and patience. 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” How will you finish your journey, will it be strong, pushing yourself, or will you fall and give up on yourself? God won’t give up on you, so you shouldn’t. You’re stronger then you think you are, and if our God is for us, who then can be against us?