Prodigal: It looks cold out there.
Me: Yes, it is but we still have the sun!
This is from the book Longing for More of Jesus: My Heart’s Cry by Anne Graham Lotz
Years ago, during the day of the powerful Roman Empire, there existed a special forces-type unit referred to as the Thundering Legion. This elite group of fighting men had greatly distinguished itself on the battlefield. It was led by a young commander, Camidus, who, in the course of his daily affairs, heard that God loved him and had sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die as a sacrifice for his sin, then had risen form the dead to give him eternal life. The young commander was so impacted that he was converted, placing his faith in Jesus Christ. He then shared his newfound faith with his regiment, and each of the thirty-nine soldiers under his command placed his faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
At the very time the regiment became more and more vocal about their faith in Jesus Christ, the Roman emperor became more and more insistent that he, the emperor, be recognized and worshiped as a god. In the end, and ugly confrontation took place when the regiment was commanded by the acting Roman governor to sacrifice to idols. The entire regiment refused. All forty professional fighting men were arrested by other soldiers and sent to a remote northern province. There they were called upon to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ once and for all. Again, each one refused.
As punishment for their faith, the forty soldiers were marched out onto the surface of a frozen lake, stripped of all their clothes, and loosely tied by a rope that encircled the neck of each and was strung form man to man. The men were then told they would be left on the lake until they froze to death.
However, if any man changed his mind, all he had to do was to slip the rope up and off his neck, walk to the shore, renounce his faith to the guard, and enter a steaming hot bath in order to recover from the exposure.
As the guard went back to his post to warm himself by his fire and to watch the forty nude men shivering in the freezing air, he heard them begin to chant: “Forty soldiers, we stand strong in the strength of Christ and Christ alone.” The chant continued until the darkness fell and the night descended, bringing with it plummeting temperatures. In the frozen bleakness, the chant became weaker, than faded altogether.
In the middle of the night, one of the freezing soldiers struggled to lift his arms, then unwrapped the rope from his neck and stumbled to the shore. In a barely audible voice, he told the guard he could not stand the cold any longer and renounced his faith in Jesus Christ. He then fell into the warmth of the steaming Roman bath.
As the guard returned to his post, he strained his ears to hear a sound coming from across the surface of the frozen lake: “Thirty-nine soldiers, we stand strong in the strength of Christ and Christ alone.” He held his breath to listen more carefully–then heard it again! This time the chant was repeated louder, with more strength. The guard was stunned! Who could provoke such conviction and commitment from such men? The guard knew it was Jesus! Slowly but surely, the guard walked across the surface of the lake to where the thirty-nine men were still standing. He quietly stripped of his clothes, stepped into the line of soldiers, wrapped the rope around his own neck, took the place of the soldier who had gone to shore, and shouted, “I am a Christian.” The chant rang out once more, only this time it was stronger and louder than it had been before: “Forty soldiers, we stand strong in the strength of Christ and Christ alone.” When the sun rose early the next morning, forty soldiers lay dead on the frozen surface of the lake.
Where does such strength come from? Where do you find courage and convictions like that to live for–and die for?
We love him, because he first loved us.
I JOHN 4 : 19
Jennifer Van Allen