Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REFUGE (08/29/19)
- TITLE: Destination
By Lynda Schultz
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Our business had been thriving. However, as long as my husband had his tools we could start again anywhere. After all, people needed tents, and tents needed mending. But where was this “anywhere” to be? Christians and Jews alike were chased out of Rome, the city. But Rome was everywhere. Where could we go where its tentacles didn’t reach?
A few stayed behind. Even the threat of becoming living torches or fodder for lions refused to move them. If asked which of the gods they served, they would have to decide to die confessing Christ or deny ever knowing Him. We chose to go. Our place was not a catacomb or a coliseum. We knew there was something somewhere we still needed to do. It would be a dangerous path to travel with an uncertain end and little safety anywhere we went.
On the road there were other pilgrims like us. I will not call us refugees, though we were driven from our homes simply because we followed the Way. Physically, the provision of any shelter was doubtful, but we knew that we were sheltered by the Almighty whether we slept under the stars, in a cave, or in a tent. No, we were pilgrims on a journey, like Abraham before us. Called to become something new, formed by God for His glory because of His Son.
At first, we kept to ourselves even in company. Who knew if there were spies among us? Sometimes we encountered people we knew, but most were strangers. As time went on and distance stilled the anxious backward looks in search of pursuing soldiers, and as traveling companions became more familiar, each identified himself to the others. The sign was given, sometimes surreptitiously; sometimes, depending on the company, with more boldness. The upper half of the fish traced in the dirt. Another believer would know the symbol and trace the bottom half. Gradually like gravitated to like until we were confident in our new friends. Safety came, not in numbers, but sensing that around us the heavenly armies protected us from any earthly foes. We understood that they might be ordered to do otherwise but if so, we also knew that then they would escort us where no foe could ever touch us again.
In the evenings as we sat beside campfires and shared our meager supplies, someone would start the song. The thin sound wafted on the breeze, strengthening as voices joined the chorus: “I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of trouble…”*
My husband and I talked in whispers in the quiet of the night while others slept. Where God might want us to go was often the discussion of choice. We prayed that He would guide us and gradually our path grew clearer. We must find Paul. Somehow our lives intersected with his, though we did not know then how that could be. We weren’t sure where he was though Corinth seemed like a good place to start. If he wasn’t there already surely Paul would eventually come to such a thriving centre. But it was a long hard journey to Corinth and the Roman scourge existed there too. Was there no safe place for us? Perhaps not, at least not what many would consider safe. But safety was not our destination, nor our destiny. The thoughts of the angels with the Almighty at their head quieted our hearts.
We faced the journey. Memories of things left behind lingered, the pull of longing dissipated. Ahead lay a purpose designed by God just for us. The path could lead us through big cities, small towns, villages, roadside camps, and yes, even to our graves. It really didn’t matter.
The song sprang again from grateful hearts as we set our feet once more on the road: “I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of trouble…”
He is all that and more.
*Psalm 59:16 (KJV)
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