Life Lessons from the Road (A to Z)
Japan: "The Struggle Is The Triumph!"
I started with the letter A and will go to Z focusing on a nation or island group, and what I learned in that place. If you are looking for perfection then just read the Words of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible. I'm only a pilgrim that has and is still on a journey with Jesus. He is constantly working on me like a potter does the clay. Welcome to the potter's house!
‘The struggle is the triumph’
Mt. Fuji is covered with powdery volcanic ash and huge boulders. It stands 12,285 feet high. It is almost perfect in shape and rises in a majestic view as you see it from Tokyo. My wife Denise and I set off to make the climb to the top to lift the cross above this mountain and pray for Japan. Of course we wanted to share Jesus along the climb. From the nice road at the bottom of the mountain we soon were on a trail up and then the climb with the cross got more difficult. You take a step up and then slide back in the ash. Then there are big rocks and maneuvering over and around then with a twelve foot seventy pound cross became more and more of a struggle. I had the cross on one shoulder and a walking stick in the other hand trying not to slide back down the mountain.
Denise and I pulled, pushed, drudge, carried and lifted the cross. We were struggling and breathing was hard. Now several hundred people a year climb to the top so there were many people going up and down but of course this was the only cross! What a site it must have been.
We shared Jesus with several people and continued the climb. A group of about fifty or so U.S. marines were climbing the mountain and they were going faster than us and at the toughest part as we could see the top in the distance we became mixed in the middle of the marines. They looked with admiration at my wife and I and the huge cross. They commented on our struggling effort to make progress up this steep and slippery part. They ask questions and we had a good witness with them. At one point a group of six marines were resting where we also stopped. We were talking with them about Jesus and the cross. Then they said they would like to help us to the top. The said "All the way with the cross, we'll raise it up at the top like the flag on Iwo Jima!" Soon not one but three or four at a time where holding it trying to make progress to the top. It exhausted us all but at the top we raised the cross, posed for photos and had a prayer together. One marine gave his life to Jesus on the climb up and another on the way down.
It was ‘because’ we were struggling and exhausted that the marines were touched to help us and in helping carry the cross also met the reason for the cross…Jesus!
I have found the world over that in the greatest need or struggle people respond in amazing ways. In the pouring rain people are more apt to stop their car than in nice weather. In a snow storm car after car will stop and offer help. Walking from Jerusalem to Cairo across the Sinai Desert I was overwhelmed by the response of the people both Jewish and Arabic in giving me more food and drinks than I could carry. It opened the way to many receiving Jesus. People around the world have opened their homes to my wife, my children and me because they wanted to help and in helping they found love and Jesus. When my son Joshua and I carried the cross into Beirut, Lebanon all the armies and people were welcoming including Yasser Arafat. Why, because of the power of Jesus for sure but also because we came as a father and son carrying a big cross into the middle of war with nothing but God, a cross and a smile. We slept in the building with the Moslem fighters and then slept on the front lines with the Israeli troops with an ammunition box for a pillow and our crosses leaned against a tank. The Indians in the jungles of South America welcomed the cross and the man with the cross as I struggled to make it.
Look at the struggles of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Gideon, David, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, Steven, Paul etc. Look at the struggle to carry the message of Jesus to all the world. Now look at Jesus and think of all the struggles He faced. Why do people work out in gyms, or train for sports, etc. to get stronger and prepared for life or the marathon or the game or the war.
We are not to flee struggles but to welcome them, use them as a witness and become strong in the Lord.
“I have endured the trials that came to me.” “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance” “Consider it pure Joy my brethren when you meet trials of many kinds” “…Our present sufferings of this present time are nothing compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us" "Your sufferings I know, and your poverty, but you are rich!”
Acts 20:19; Romans 5:3; James 1:2; Romans 8:18; Rev.2:9
The struggle that you face could be just the thing that will bring many to Jesus and make you stronger.
In the movie "The Cross" you see some of my most difficult struggles and the triumph through it. The power of the cross and Jesus giving victory in the face of almost certain defeat! Glory! I encourage you to get this movie and see the struggle to take the cross to every nation on earth and every major inhabited island group. It will encourage you to live out your purpose and destiny.
To read more of the cross walk in Okinawa please go to "Crosswalk Stories" Top Left
God bless you on your journey.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt,