Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
In January 1915, the ship Endurance was trapped and crushed in the ice off the coast of Antarctica. The group of polar explorers, led by Ernest Shackleton, survived and managed to reach Elephant Island in three small lifeboats. Trapped on this uninhabited island, far from normal shipping lanes, they had one hope. On April 24, 1916, 22 men watched as Shackleton and five comrades set out in a tiny lifeboat for South Georgia, an island 800 miles away. The odds seemed impossible, and if they failed, they would all certainly die. What joy, then, when more than four months later a boat appeared on the horizon with Shackleton on its bow shouting, “Are you all well?” And the call came back, “All safe! All well!”
What held those men together and kept them alive over those months? Faith and hope placed in one man. They believed that Shackleton would find a way to save them.
This human example of faith and hope echoes the faith of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11. Their faith in the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” kept them going through great difficulties and trials (Heb. 11:1 nkjv).
As we look out upon the horizon of our own problems, may we not despair. May we have hope through the certainty of our faith in the One Man—Jesus, our God and Savior.
Thank You, Father, for the promise of forgiveness made possible by Jesus. May that promise lighten the darkest of our days.
The hope of Jesus shines brightly even on our darkest day.
Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” —Matthew 28:18-19
The key to the missionary’s work is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the lost. We are inclined to look on our Lord as one who assists us in our endeavors for God. Yet our Lord places Himself as the absolute sovereign and supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say that the lost will never be saved if we don’t go— He simply says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations….” He says, “Go on the basis of the revealed truth of My sovereignty, teaching and preaching out of your living experience of Me.”
“Then the eleven disciples went…to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them” (Matthew 28:16). If I want to know the universal sovereignty of Christ, I must know Him myself. I must take time to worship the One whose name I bear. Jesus says, “Come to Me…”— that is the place to meet Jesus— “all you who labor and are heavy laden…” (Matthew 11:28)— and how many missionaries are! We completely dismiss these wonderful words of the universal Sovereign of the world, but they are the words of Jesus to His disciples meant for here and now.
“Go therefore….” To “go” simply means to live. Acts 1:8 is the description of how to go. Jesus did not say in this verse, “Go into Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria,” but, “…you shall be witnesses to Me in [all these places].” He takes upon Himself the work of sending us.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you…” (John 15:7)— that is the way to keep going. Where we are placed is then a matter of indifference to us, because God sovereignly engineers our goings.
“None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus…” (Acts 20:24). That is how to keep going until we are gone from this life.
Much of the misery in our Christian life comes not because the devil tackles us, but because we have never understood the simple laws of our make-up. We have to treat the body as the servant of Jesus Christ: when the body says “Sit,” and He says “Go,” go! When the body says “Eat,” and He says “Fast,” fast! When the body says “Yawn,” and He says “Pray,” pray! Biblical Ethics, 107 R