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A Prisoner of War


I recall a story I read a long time ago.  It is supposed to be a true story of a Chinese general who was captured during a border war with war lords in the far north, thousands of years ago.  He was placed under house arrest.  The general was a prisoner for a number of years and was soon in his eighties.  Every day he would wake up early and after breakfast would start dismantling a stone wall to one side of the property and build a new stone wall on the other side.  He would carry heavy stones one by one all day.  The next day, he would dismantle the wall and build a new stone wall on the other side.  One of his fellow prisoners asked him why he bothered to do such a senseless and tiring thing.  After all, he was advanced in years and should be taking things easy.  The general replied that one day, his emperor would win the war and come to rescue him from prison.  His emperor, the general explained, would need his wise counsel to rule the kingdom thereafter.  Sure enough, his emperor eventually defeated the barbarian army and released the general from captivity and he was able to serve his emperor for another eight years.  This story is recorded in Chinese history as an example of loyalty, diligence and perseverance and the general’s name and deeds have been passed down the generations.

Like that general, we Christians are in prison in a strange land, surrounded by God’s enemies.  Some will lose faith and give up hope.  A few, however, will be like that general and will strive to be ready when the Master comes, unwilling to compromise with the world and the flesh.  Then, we will rule the kingdom with Him.  Rev. 2:26-29.  The Bible records the story of Joseph, who never gave up, although he spent many years as a slave and then as a prisoner.  He never lost hope.  He trusted God and was patient in faith.  Joseph could have blamed God, even cursed Him and become sullen, angry or resentful.  He refused the temptations and continued in his belief in the goodness of God and his ultimate destiny.  In the end, the Lord God of Israel rescued Joseph from prison and Joseph became second in command only to the Pharaoh of Egypt. 

That is our inheritance if we only wait patiently upon the Lord Jesus and cling to our faith in His promises with diligence, loyalty and perseverance, striving to be ready when the Lord comes.  Rev. 13:10. 

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