Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…. Ephesians 6: 18
By Christine Darg
Always we have to prepare ourselves emotionally because we live in a fallen, dangerous world in which situations can change overnight.
When we study the lives of great men and women of God, they obtained great exploits, but often they also suffered many family losses and deep trials. Yet they looked to the prize of the heavenly calling and pressed on despite great heartaches.
It’s always so difficult to lose a beloved parent, a spouse, sibling or a prayer partner in death. That happened to me this week when we buried my long time prayer partner in the UK, Shirley Hughes, who was a Trustee of Exploits Ministry for many years. Shirley accompanied me on many adventures in Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. She was always powerful in prayer, rose to every faith challenge, often with good humour.
She climbed the steps in her home recently, and just collapsed and died. The Lord took her home. He knew she needed a rest. Meanwhile, those of us who remain in the Church Militant soldier on while our loved ones in the Church Triumphant, the great cloud of witnesses, rest and watch, having entered into their eternal reward.
Perseverance of the saints is a Bible teaching that asserts that once a person is truly born of God and regenerated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they will continue doing good works and believing in God until the end of life.
Deborah the Judge and prophetess exclaimed in Judges 5: 21, “O my soul, march on in strength!”
That is the exhortation of the hour. Many are weary from the constant and seemingly endless chatter about Covid—the contradictions in the news and the suppression of information. We see the foreshadowings of a society that will control everyone’s movements, buying and selling.
O my soul, don’t be weary! March on in strength, for the joy of the Lord IS my strength!
According to the commentaries, Deborah’s sudden exclamation, breaking the flow of her song in Chapter 5, adds to its fire and impetuosity. The Vulgate renders the verse, “Trample down, O my soul, the mighty.” Deborah deliberately called on her own soul to bear up. Her action is akin to David in the Psalms when he encouraged himself in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6) It’s an awful thing to be an enemy to God but the overcomer marches on in confidence that the LORD is our mighty warrior and shield.
My friend Shirley ended well, having fought the good fight for decades. We also must purpose to end well, to keep the faith!
Those who are sent on assignments to nations like Shirley and myself are adventurers with God. We know there are prices to be paid. Wilmot Brooke, the pioneer missionary to the Sudan, anticipated his swiftly approaching end. At the Missionary House just before starting on his last expedition in 1891, he remarked:
“I have five times had African fever of the most deadly kind. No one is ever known to have recovered seven times from this fever. You must expect that some of us will fall; I shall not be surprised if my call comes in six months. Still I am determined to go. Friends tell me it is madness to run such risks. But when men were called [by God into certain situations] they cheerfully came forward, knowing death was certain. Strongholds can only be stormed by acting for God in the same spirit. My action is not rashness. I am going after the calmest and fullest consideration.”
In this Shabbat’s prophetic portion, the Lord encourages us to trust Him, even when we do not understand our circumstances:
Who is there among you that fears YHWH, that obeys the voice of His Servant, yet walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of YHWH, and lean upon his God. (Isaiah 50:10; cp. Proverbs 3:5).
May God Bless you and provide great peace. I pray I may have just a small amount of Shirley’s faith! Deborah
When someone you love dies, it hurts deeply. Shirley was a good friend of mine both in Israel on assignment with Exploits and in the U.K. She was only a phone call away if I needed someone outside my own fellowship with whom to pray. She had real discernment and authority with God. I will miss her, but I know that God sometimes strips away people to make us more dependant on Him. The UCB Word for Today says “the loss of loved ones develops our spiritual muscle, tests our resilience, and shows us the scope of God’s power, So I turn to the Lord for the assurance that He is in control and He will continue to guide me along the best pathway for my life.
Lovely to see this comment from you, dear Nancy. You are also a very dear and irreplaceable friend to me.