In his letter Benjamin had instructed me not to mourn for him. But I could not help it. Christian’s story shocked me into grief as he said ‘Today, as I face my own death …’
Yes, Christian faced death for his faith and I was stunned by his determination and loyalty. Many men would have renounced a faith that culminated in their death. I was not sure what I would have done. I feared I may have agreed to anything rather than face my death. I wondered how Christian died, but the accounts I had heard of the martyrdom of those early believers were too horrible to contemplate.
Did Benjamin see Jesus at the end? It was a question that would never be answered for me. But I did know that he believed he was going home. I envied him and cried out in my room for the same assurance. Knowing where I was heading would give me direction in my life. Could I, too, be sure as Christian and Benjamin were? As I spent time grieving Benjamin – I became aware of a warm sensation in the pit of my stomach, spreading through my body. The only word I can think of that describes it is peace.
I was at peace.
My doubts and fears melted away. They did not matter anymore and I slipped off my chair onto my knees and prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ – Creator of the world; rider of the donkey.
I gave my life to him that night. I do not know whether it was this story that persuaded me, or the assurance Benjamin revealed of his own faith, or the love that I felt wash over me from Jesus himself. But on that night, at that hour, my life changed and so did I.
What courage Christian had and how faithful he was to his Lord to the very end. We do not know how long he had – neither do I know how long I have. But I think, now, that my time may be measured in weeks. I pray that I can complete the task I have been given.
Eliakim, the servant of Joseph of Arimathea, is loyal to his master and friend; and Joseph has been a good master. As Joseph steps forward to serve Christ, so does Eliakim do the same.
I pray that, although our relationship differs from that of Joseph and Eliakim, my growing faith may encourage your own. I pray that you may hear Jesus’ voice through these writings – both the scrolls and my own comments; and that you may come to Jesus as your risen Lord.
Oh yes, Benjamin, I have heard him and I have responded!
With renewed excitement I turned the page.