You are not alone. Though separated by circumstances and space, we are bound together by a common faith. Like those who went before us, like those who will come behind, by swearing our allegiance to Jesus the Messiah, we give witness to our true identify: children of God, sons and daughters of the King. Our family is deep and wide and ever expanding. You are not alone.
I remind you of this fact because I know you will face times when you feel isolated, adrift, and orphaned. You may question your theological moorings. You may question the modeling I provided. You may question the goodness of God and the mission of His church.
These questions are natural. I asked similar questions. I wrestled with similar doubts. Those who went before us and those who will come behind us will likewise ask questions. Rest assured: God can handle our questions and doubts. His Word stands up to the scrutiny of every age. His Spirit guides us in all truth. So ask away. And be assured that our common faith is not merely a slick set of propositions, but a shared commitment to living out His Word in our world.
The world needs you. God needs you. Do not underscore the profound witness you bring. You proclaim resurrection when the world trumpets death. You announce King Jesus when the world promotes selfish spirituality. You demand sacrifice, righteousness, and love when the world allows for an anything-goes-but-the-One-who-says-otherwise ethic.
Admittedly, the reward for your witness in the here-and-now does not compete with the half-truths marketed by the god of this world. He promises quick-fixes, high-rises, and freedom from pain. God does not make these promises for the here-and-now. Quite the opposite: You will suffer.
And yet, even in our sufferings we are not alone. Remember Abraham awaiting an offspring and wielding a knife? Remember Moses estranged in the desert? Remember David avoiding Saul’s spear and smelling his crap? Remember Paul flogged, shipwrecked, and abandoned in prison? Remember me slandered by crowds and running on empty? Remember Jesus, Son of God nailed to a cross?
Take note: The here-and-now is our mission field, not our final reward. A day is coming when Jesus will return. He will tie the bow in our redemptive efforts. He will restore our world. His eternal presence is our reward. Therefore, my son, keep an eternal perspective.
Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously, but never sell God too short. Don’t make your church your kingdom, but God’s domain. Don’t miss opportunities to love people, speak truth, challenge lies, and equip others. Prioritize your family. Analyze trends before adopting. Fight cynicism. Stay humble. Constantly bend your ear to the living Word of God.
I showed you the power of these values in the practice of my life. When you follow my lead in your changing times, remember me. You are not alone.
More importantly, most importantly, remember Jesus the Messiah. He never left us. Go tell your world.