Numbers 23:6-10, “So he returned to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, he and all the leaders of Moab. He took up his discourse and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, ‘Come curse Jacob for me, And come, denounce Israel!’ “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced? As I see him from the top of the rocks, And I look at him from the hills; Behold, a people who dwells apart, And will not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the upright, And let my end be like his!”
2 Corinthians 7:5, “For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.”
No Good Choice
General George Washington’s army was likely to be destroyed if it attempted to attack the British late that December, 1776. Yet the men would certainly desert if it cowered in encampments west of the Delaware River. In an anguish of indecision the general wrote his brother Augustine “of the perplexity of my situation. No man . . . ever had a greater choice of difficulties, and less means to extricate himself from them.”
Tom Dooley told of an old Vietnamese man climbing aboard the USS Montague from a transporter. He climbed up the steps to the ship and stopped. Looking terrified at the spectacle of boarding an American vessel, he then looked below at the swells – and froze in terror of the sea. There was nothing behind for him and only terror before.
Russians, too, had little choice in the opening months of the German offensive in 1941. If they stayed to defend their homes, Stalin’s minions accused them of having German loyalties. If they fled the Wermacht, Stalin’s minions considered them cowards and ordered them shot or exiled.
Sometimes we see distress one way, gloom another, and darkness all around. Questions multiply and answers vanish. When that happens, faith in God provides moral courage that is strong as steel cable, spiritual intuition that is sensitive as a taut violin string, and spiritual perception that is penetrating as a laser beam. Little by little, possibilities emerge – out of the gloom, glory; out of the misery, the miraculous. We outlive uncertainty, which cannot last, by trusting God’s grace, which cannot end.
Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Fear not that your life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning. — John Henry Neuman
If I had three hundred men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I would set the world on fire. — John Wesley
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. — Plato
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. — Shakespeare