Recently I have discovered old friends from a distant past – and new friendships made due to a common link: life in Christ. As we connect the dots in the tracing of these lives, I observe three common characteristics:
In such diversity, we have different life experiences and find ourselves in diverse stages of our pilgrimage – but there exists one certainty for each and all of us, interlinked by two aspects: a) As to who sustains us, God is faithful. b) As to finite imitators of a great God being sustained by Him, we live, obtain victories, suffer, or even die in apparent defeat – by faith.
I am moved by situations my sisters and brothers face today: irreplaceable loss, family problems (or the void of lack of family ties), finances and finiteness, serious disease that put their permanence on this earth at risk. We still do not have Paul’s fortitude to say, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Phil 1:23). However, all of us are part of this great cloud of witnesses that surround us all, testifying that “He is around me to guide... uphold... strengthen... renew...” What we really desire, far more than the foggy clouds we experience around us, is that the God of our life be exalted in our life or death (Phil 1:20). Always. Each time. In every circumstance.