On their way to reinforce failed landings on Gallipoli beaches, Lancashire Fusiliers passed a hospital ship taking wounded men to Egypt. The reinforcements shouted to those aboard ship that they were not downhearted. From the ship came warning from wounded men that they soon would be. First World War, 150
Those going into a fight need the confidence of success. Only those leaving battle know its reality. A reality often harmful, destructive and hideous, warriors wounded and dead in grotesque configurations.
Christians in the life and death struggle in our culture understand. Like Paul in II Corinthians 4:8-9 we are “hard pressed on every side…perplexed…struck down….”
Savage opposition from a materialistic, humanistic, atheistic society inflicts casualties of confidence on those with faith in Christ. We suffer serious harm to our zeal and conviction. Failure despite every effort to succeed haunts us. Refusal by the unsaved to reconsider their opposition to Christ gives us second thoughts about continued discipleship.
Yet, like Paul, all that we face may reduce our enthusiasm, but it won’t alter our perseverance. We’re involved in Christ’s life and ministry by a fixed conviction that he IS God in the Flesh, not by a passing enthusiasm of a religious high. Inability to recruit repentance from the lost may disappoint us, but it doesn’t reduce our hope in forgiveness. Rejection of Jesus by those who want an easy, not a sure, way to Heaven won’t divert us from the straight and narrow road that leads to eternal life. Faced with minds adamant against spiritual truth, we continue to teach it. For we know it doesn’t take a willing audience to preach God’s word.
Yes, the full quotation from II Corinthians 4:8-9 bolsters our service. “Hard pressed…perplexed…struck down” may be our experience, but “not crushed…not abandoned…not destroyed” is our destiny in the One who Overcame the world.