A letter from home
He sat in the trenches, the sounds of war deafening. The horror of dying men’s shrill death cries and guttural last breaths assaulting him. The stench of stale blood and heat, nauseating. Fathers and sons, piled high in rubbish dump graves.
As he lay back against the muddy trench wall, weary to the bone, the noble point was forgotten in the face of reality. The face of a boy stared up at him in silent shock. Death surrounded him. Hopelessness settled around him.
What was the point?
He prayed for the next bullet to have his name on it; for this nightmare to end.
He reached for the pack of cigarettes in his pocket. The crumpled letter brushed his fingertips. He opened it, the words familiar and memorised: ‘Keep on…we love you…don’t give up…come home.’ The torn photograph, blurry through his tears, smiled at him, beckoning. Home was waiting.
‘The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.’ [G.K. Chesterton]
She sat in the church pew, the sounds of life deafening. Brokenness, chaos, misery, hurt and heartache surrounded her. Death, divorce and despair. The groaning of this world a reality. Life seemed to be about going through the motions. She was weary.
What was the point?
She reached for the Bible on her lap. It was well worn. Some of the pages dog-eared. She opened it, seeing the words, highlighted and familiar: ‘In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world… I am the way the truth and the life… I am going to prepare a place for you… You are loved and called by name…I will come again and take you home.’
She looked up at the picture of the cross. Her Saviour’s face piercing her heart with love and grace. She looked through her tears at the picture of the empty tomb, a picture of her risen Saviour conquering death and sin. Every word in her Bible pointed to this image. A reminder.
That was the point.
The cross. The crown of thorns. The torment, pain and anguish.
Calvary. The place where love and mercy meet. The place where the victory was won.
Her Saviour, Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of God, ruling, interceding and beckoning her towards Heaven. Home.
The true Christian fights not because he hates what is behind him,
but because he loves what is in front him.
‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.’ [James 1:12]
She would not give up.
‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ [Isaiah 41:10]
The battle has been won. The enemy has been overthrown. The King of kings is on His throne.
‘Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.’ [Jennie E. Hussey]