Items For Prayer And Praise
By Lois J. Stucky
“Via Dolorosa”--the Way of the Cross, is the name Christians give to the road at Jerusalem which Jesus traveled from Pilate’s hall of judgment to the hill of Golgotha where He was crucified. He was to be the first of many who would walk the way of the cross. No one else would tread the same route on the same redeeming mission as did He. That was for Christ Jesus alone. He was the world’s one and only Redeemer. But in obedience to His words that “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me,” there would be many to tread the way of the cross.
In Peter Hammond’s article on pages 6 and 7, is set forth forcefully, how the great suffering in the world today is resulting in the turning to God of many who otherwise might have gone on their own easy way to eternal destruction. In countries where suffering has been severe, it is often the Christians who have borne the first brunt of it. Their blood spilt for Christ’s sake has sprinkled the pathway along which others have found salvation. “You must bleed to bless,” Sister Moore often quoted to the Herald staff. Among our Christian brothers and sisters around the world today is many a broken heart, a throbbing body, a sorrowing mind. Oh, let us not forget them! They walk the way of the cross.
But let us also marvel at the sustaining grace of God in the midst of suffering. The following comes from Open Doors Newsbrief and is a beautiful example of the grace God is able to impart to the broken spirit given up to loving Him in spite of great suffering. It is a song sung to the Lord by a young Chinese Christian woman while in prison.
“I’m a little bird in a cage, away from the trees, flowers and fields. To be in bonds for you, Lord, how glad I am to sing and pour out my heart to you all day. You like to hold my wings that want to fly.
“Listen to the songs I have to sing. Your great love constrains me. I’ll be your love slave who will never run away. Who will understand the bitterness of prison life? But the love of the Lord can make it sweet. Oh, Lord, I love the road You have prepared for me. May the whole creation praise your wonderful deeds.”
Most of us reading this have a lot in life which is far less grievous than that which this young lady endures for Christ. It is true that many of us are destined not to die for Christ but to live the crucified life for His glory. But even if we are not to die a physical death for Him, we must beware lest the comparative ease of our life might be because we are shunning the cross we should be carrying. Each one who would be a true follower of Christ is to walk the way of the cross--to live the crucified life. Even those of us seeking to do so must ask ourselves, do I have a song like the young lady above? Do I have a sweet, broken spirit like she has? Oh, it is too rare, too rarely found in this self-pampering age!
While things are as good for us as they are, fellow Christians of the Western world, we ought to be seeking to live the crucified life in as Christlike and God-pleasing way as possible. Our future, like that of the rest of the world, is uncertain. Anti-Christ forces increase in the earth. If we do not learn to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Jesus now, will we be able to stand if and when we are thrust into harder trials? Think how serious could be the alternative to denying ourselves. Could it lead to denying Christ?
Articles in this issue of Herald of His Coming give us help in living the crucified life. Might God enable us not to take them lightly. The help God would give us is to fit us for the overcoming life, the throne life which He has prepared for us. It is the life we must live if we are to advance His Kingdom as He purposes--to go into all the world with the Gospel. “The way up is the way down.” “The way to the throne is by the cross.” Are we willing for it?