Day 4,408

How many days have you been on this Christian path?

Have they all been easy?

Have some drove you to your knees?

If you were a soldier sending a letter home, what would it say?

4,408 is roughly the number of days I have been serving the Lord now. There are some letters that are darker than others. Victory will out-way every all the difficulty when my last day has been written.

If you have ever read any letters from the battlefield, you will see that not every day is bad and not every day is the best. Some soldiers wrote in detail what they were struggling with on a daily basis. Other soldiers wrote about the fallen men and women who served alongside them. Then there were soldiers who wrote about the fun they were having on base and making friendships that would last a lifetime.

The following letter was from a Marine deployed in Iraq in 2004...

"Over Christmas, my infantry battalion was activated and instead of going back to school, I am spending the spring in Iraq. I am between Fallujah and Baghdad, in the heart of the Sunni Triangle. These are random observations from my war. It is not complete. It will probably all change tomorrow. Forgive me if it’s not organized, living in the land of insanity makes it difficult to be coherent …
Twenty-some Iraqis were killed here yesterday by mortars at about 2 in the afternoon. The rounds landed about 650 feet from me. Today their relatives found out the names of the dead. [Carroll recalls Webber later telling him that he never did find out who fired the mortars.]
I sleep in a prison cell, literally. It was part of Saddam Hussein’s most notorious torture center. I eat breakfast where he killed 30,000 Iraqis over the last 10 years …
Yesterday a kid, who couldn’t have been any older than 4, pointed a stick at me like a rifle and pretended to shoot me. I wonder if someday my kids will meet him on some distant battlefield. I pray to God that if I have a son, he never has to go to war. That would tear my heart out."

The Apostle Paul writes, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 2:3). These words must have meant a great deal to Timothy as he is reading them for the first time. Imagine one of the greatest men you knew, writing you an encouraging letter to continue the fight. Paul was a veteran by this point in his ministry. He had seen the greatest tragedies in his life, along with the greatest miracles. The reason why I love Paul's writings so much is because of his brutal honesty. In one letter he writes during a storm at sea "And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away" (Acts 27:19-20)

Paul was not afraid to tell us that there were extremely hard days in this walk of life. With everything that he suffered and endured, he knew that winning the battle at the end of his life would be worth every struggle. Take time to reflect on your life as a Christian. Write down the victories you have won as well as some disappointments. Fill your heart with gratitude that you are still fighting.

Be encouraged!

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