As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
- Ephesians 4:1-7
”For every minute of every day since July 2, 1937, select military have guarded the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. But they aren’t standing still. They follow a precise pattern: 21 steps across the tomb, turn and face the tomb for 21 seconds, then turn again and walk 21 steps back across. This is repeated over and over, ever the same. The numeral 21 represents America’s highest honor.
“In the same way those who perform that duty know their steps, Christians have been given precise steps to follow in a life worthy of their calling. The Bible says you are to walk a different way – following Christ – with steps of humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, compassion and love. No matter your circumstances, good, bad or beyond your control, and no matter how blurred the path into the future, Jesus calls you to order each step.
“Walking in a way that honors the Lord is a daily commitment. Pray for wisdom to know which steps to take.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
My only trip to the Tomb of the Unknowns was on my first big adventure from Mississippi to New Brunswick and back, going through seventeen states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces. I had just finished Army ROTC summer camp, and I needed to blow off some steam. Watching the guards march and the changing of the guard took my breath away. I tried to bring my sons to the Tomb years later, not knowing that the Memorial Day that we chose was when the latest additions to the Tomb would be added. It was too packed to get anywhere near the cemetery.
There was one episode of the old television cartoon The Smurfs, where they went on a long trek, the reason escapes my memory. As they are traveling, the Smurfs ask, “Is it much further, Papa Smurf?” His reply, “Not far now.” A little later, the same question. “Not far now.” A little later, the same question. In an irritated voice, Papa Smurf says, “Yes, it is!”
In our trips by car from South Carolina to Mississippi or Texas to visit family, the boys would play that game with me, trying to see how many times it would take before they got the “Yes, it is!”
In our journey of faith, we have no idea how much time we have left in our journey. We simply take the next step in faith.
From His place outside time, looking at the thousands and thousands of years of history, our lifespan is but a moment when seen from God’s perspective. Yet, He puts more care of us into each second than we could ever imagine.
We ask, “Is it much further, Jesus?”
His reply, always, until we meet face to face, “Not far now.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.