I read something the other morning that was written by Samuel M. Zwemer, who was an American missionary in Cairo, Egypt during World War I. His thoughts are directed to Oswald Chambers’ book, The Shadow of an Agony. And while they were written during the war in Europe, I find them somewhat appropriate here in the 21st Century.
“The war, Chambers says, has upset everyman’s nest; we are face to face with a terrific upheaval in life; there is no civilized security anywhere on the globe. We have seen that there is no such thing as a Christian nation, we have seen the unutterable futility of the organized Christian church, and many a man who has had no tension in his life has been suddenly obliged to face things he never intended to look at. The very things Oswald Chambers shows us in the light of the Cross. He points out that because Jesus Christ is so like unto His brethren, we can face this turmoil and stress, and stand with Him in the shadow of a great agony, undiscouraged and unafraid.
There is really only one mystery in the universe; it is the mystery of Redemption. The way we approach this holy ground is nearly always through suffering. Those that carry the cross after Jesus best understand why and how He first carried it, and how the nails pierced not His hands only but His heart.”
Great truths are greatly won,
Not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream,
But buffeting with adverse winds and tides.
As I read this and spent some time considering the world at the time when it was written I could not help but reflect on the words of our Lord …
Matt 24:6-8 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. ESV