On 24th January the British explorer Henry Worsley died attempting to walk the 913 miles across Antarctica – entirely on his own – saying that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hero Ernest Shackleton (who also did not manage it across either, in fact hardly started). Worsley had to give up 30 miles short of completion and was rescued but died later. He did not make it.
But why oh why would you choose to attempt to walk across the coldest most inhospitable continent on the planet? It would be that bitter wind that would put me off – I hate bitter winds.
The story put me in mind of the Christian journey and the need to keep going to the end. What will keep us going in the midst of trials and struggles and difficulties? We saw from Daniel 12 that the answer was the knowledge that we are heading towards a goal that lies beyond this world and beyond the grave – the hope of the resurrection of our bodies and a new life in glory. We can keep going because we know we are ultimately safe despite the sufferings and trials along the way. We can keep going because we know that God has fixed the time for our struggles and they will come to an end.
One more thing that we have that poor Henry didn’t was the company of others on this journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City (to use John Bunyan’s language in Pilgrim’s Progress) – it was a joy to study Daniel 12 again in our community group an be spurred on and encouraged by the words of others.
I am very glad that God does not call us to be rugged individualists, stoically marching on alone but he calls us to walk together along the way of the cross – it may not be a ‘joy ride’ but ultimately and really it is a ‘joy road’.
As for Worsley, the road will most likely end in death but for us that will not be the end of our journey!
Written by Stephen Nicholls
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