It is not how a man begins his Christian life, but How he ends it, that counts. It is one thing to come forward at a meeting in answer to the appeal of an evangelist, with 10,000 people looking on, or to hold your hand up, and to sign a card. If it is real, the Lord bless you! But the thing that matters is whether, following that decision, you press into the land of blessing! Do you go on with God, do you persistently, patiently, and in the face of every opposition and every testing, go right through? And if you slip and fall down, do you pick yourself up again and go on, or do you go back into indulgence and sin?
I remember in childhood days, during the first world war, on a certain lovely summer afternoon I was walking with my father along the pier at Tynemouth, near Newcastle, England. We noticed a crowd of people around and many ships in the harbor. Presently a cloud of smoke appeared in the distance, grew larger, and soon a convoy of battleships came into the river Tyne, in the center of them was one battleship healing over -I wondered how it had remained afloat. It was the HMS Lyon, coming back from the battle of Jutland, a naval battle which turned the attack of Germany on our country at that time. As the ship got nearer the harbor, I saw great holes in her deck. She had no mast, no funnel, no turrets; the bridge had gone; the deck was just a shambles. Water was pouring in and out of her and she was being gently nursed home by tugs and an escort of ships. Shall I ever forget the sight of twenty-five sailors and one officer standing rigidly at attention on a part of the deck, with a tattered bit of the royal ensign flying from a piece of wreckage? Every throat that could cheer, cheered, and every ship that had a siren blew it. These twenty-six were all that were left, a tragic remnant of 1,100 men. But the ship had held on, and she fought through to the end, and she came into harbor victorious, holed and wounded, with hundreds of men killed -but still afloat and undaunted!
In the course of the Christian life we suffer many wounds from Satan, and sometimes from friends. If one day, however, when we get into the heavenly harbor, we get a welcome like that ship received, and hear the Lord Jesus say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord,” we will care for nothing else, for it will have been worth it all when we see Jesus.
– Alan Redpath / “Victorious Christian Living Studies In The Book Of Joshua”
I just don’t think it can be said any more beautifully than this. What a magnificent picture.