Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Steadfast Under Trial

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.  (2 Timothy 4:7-8. ESV.)

Oh to be able to say this one day and hear my King respond with, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Regarding William Wilberforce, John Piper wrote,
"Consider now the remarkable perseverance of this man in the cause of justice.  I admit, this is what drew me to Wilberforce in the first place - his reputation as a man who simply would not give up when the cause was just."

Wilberforce would not quit.  Not in the face of defeat, with the sting of failure, strain of stress, tarnish of slander, discomfort of illness, and threat of harm!

Piper went on to state,
"...Wilberforce wrote, 'I have been so often disappointed, that I rejoice with trembling and shall scarcely dare to be confident till I actually see the Order in the Gazette.'  But these repeated defeats of his plans did not defeat him.  His adversaries complained that 'Wilberforce jumped up whenever they knocked him down.'  One of them in particular put it like this: 'It is necessary to watch him as he is blessed with a very sufficient quantity of that Enthusiastic spirit, which is so far from yielding that it grows more vigorous from blows.'"

Wilberforce's prayer was,
"Oh Lord, purify my soul from all its stains.  Warm my heart with the love of thee, animate my sluggish nature and fix my inconstancy, and volatility, that I may not be weary in well doing."

Lord, my King, I echo that prayer!!!  I, admittedly, am not fighting against such a powerful cause as slavery but I am battling for justice against sin.  I feel this places me in a similar boat, albeit Wilberforce was in a massive battleship (figuratively speaking, of course) and I in a dinky row boat... but I have to admit I feel the burden of tension and burn of running the race this long season.  I get tired and (at times) overwhelmed.  I beg You, my King, for reinforcements and thank You for Your many blessings.

Piper mentions Wilberforce's pain when his oldest, William, "fell away from the Christian faith and gave no evidence of the precious experience his father called 'the great change.'"  When Wilberforce got word his son was "spending his father's allowance foolishly",  
"Wilberforce agonized and decided to cut off his allowance, have him suspended from school, put him with another family, and not allow him to come home."

Right on!  Talk about tough love.  Again I can relate to Wilberforce in the heartache of having someone so beloved be apart from God... To not know God's character and grace... To not feel that peace that surpasses all understanding... To not have a future and a hope.  

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  (James 1:12. ESV.)
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