Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Hurricane Isabel was roaring up the East Coast, bringing with her 100 mile-an-hour winds, flooding deluges of rain, and a trail of destruction. As the storm moved from North Carolina toward Virginia and Washington D.C., something unprecedented happened at one of America's most hallowed sights. At Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of many of the nation's honored dead, there stands the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded proudly by military sentinels, day and night. For some seventy years, the guards have been there, marching with impressive precision, their rifle on their shoulder. But with a violent storm headed that way, the guards were given the unprecedented option of leaving their post long enough to seek shelter. They refused.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Standing Strong In Spite of The Storm."
The creed of the guards of the Unknown Soldier commits them to maintain their vigil for America's honored dead, no matter what the storm. And even with permission to avoid the ravages of the storm, they refused to leave their post. It's the kind of loyalty and dedication that should characterize anyone trusted with an assignment by Jesus Christ - who deserves the highest honor for the death He died for us and His victory over death on Easter Morning.
Your assignment could be as a leader or a messenger for Him. Maybe you're a parent. Maybe you're His representative among some people who don't know Him. You're a servant of the Most High God. But it's been stormy lately, and maybe the storm has lasted for a long time. You have felt swamped, battered, blown around - and, frankly, it's been tempting to just leave your post and seek shelter. Today is for you - not from me, but from the One who called you this assignment for Him in the first place.
Your word for today from the Word of God may be just what you need for that storm you're in. Ephesians 6:13 says, "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." Not to give up ... not to drop out - but to stand. When so many are running for cover and abandoning your post, Jesus is calling you to finish what you started, persevere in your mission, and stay by your post. No matter how unappreciated or poorly treated you may have been. No matter how discouraging it has felt. No matter how many others have abandoned their post.
Paul charged Timothy to "endure hardship" and to "discharge all the duties of your ministry." And he modeled what he said as evidenced in the personal testimony that follows - "I am being poured out as a drink offering ... I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:5-7).
The storm reveals the difference between a wimp and a warrior for Jesus. Sure, it's tempting to get hard or to get out. But the warriors will not abandon their post, no matter what the turbulence - because they serve a Savior who did not abandon His assignment, even when it meant a crown of thorns on His head, spikes in His hands, and a spear in His side.
And for those who stick it out through the storm, here is your Master's exciting promise: "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord," - and here's a great promise - "because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:57, 58).