Joseph Herrin (08-25-2010)
As I have been traveling across the country I have been blessed to meet with many of Yahshua’s brothers and sisters. The message I have been led to share with them is that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). I have shared numerous experiences from my life, especially the last 11 years, as the Father has revealed that those things I have passed through will be common to those who would stand as overcomers.
Without question there has been loss, difficulty, sorrows, and some suffering along the way. Some are daunted to hear of the afflicted path that all faithful disciples of Christ must walk, and I occasionally hear from sisters in Christ who are in need of some encouragement. They want to know that they too can walk a difficult path, often feeling that they are weaker, and less able to bear up under difficulties.
I want to share an experience that Randy and I had while in Spokane. Prior to arriving in Spokane, Randy and I had some conversations in which he was relating the difficulty of following the path that the Father had appointed to him. He stated that he knew of no other men who would walk a path similar to his own, where his soul found no present reward, and only constant trials and loss.
I shared with Randy that I had embraced a similar walk, and was able to walk it, and that there were plenty of others, including women, who had embraced the same course. While we were in Spokane, Washington the Father showed us this truth in way of a parable.
The book Hinds’ Feet on High Places has become a very precious book to Randy and I. The title alludes to the ability of Yahweh to give His children feet like the deer, able to traverse mountains and obstacles with great grace. The character Much Afraid in the book had crippled feet, and Randy and I also have things which hinder our physical walk.
Randy took a fall off a roof about 6-7 years ago and crushed his heel when he landed. The heel gives him much pain when he stands for lengthy periods of time, and it makes long hikes difficult. He also deals with asthma. Although he is a muscular and powerful man, difficulty breathing will slow him down.
My own physical condition is not anything to boast about. I was born with brittle bone disease, and broke nearly a dozen bones in my youth. I was not able to participate in Physical Education and sports as other children. I have never been physically powerful. On top of this, years of poor diet and being overweight led to my experiencing a heart attack several years ago. So I try to pace myself when hiking and biking.
Randy and I found one magnificent trail where we were camped near Spokane. The trail went up one side of a mountain and came down some miles further on by a precarious zig zag path that was marked by warning signs announcing that the trail had been eroded and was hazardous in some places. Nevertheless, the trail was well used, both by people walking, and those on mountain bikes.
Randy had walked the entire path (about 7-8 miles) one day, and told me about a section I had not walked. It was the zig zag section. It was a very steep climb, but was rewarded with spectacular views and waterfalls. We decided to ride our bikes to the base of the mountain, a distance of 2-3 miles, and then hike to the top.
The hike was tough. We were making patient yet steady progress to the top, and I was stopping occasionally for a breather. As we neared the top, a young woman came running up the path behind us with her dog in tow. She passed us as if she were running downhill. This happened more than once until Randy and I began to wonder where these Amazon women were coming from.
I sensed a parable in this occurrence. The path we were walking represented the narrow and afflicted path that leads ever upward towards Zion. Randy and I felt that we were doing well on our journey along this road. There were few others on the same path. Nevertheless, we were shown that some were able to make much greater progress, and those doing so whom we encountered were often women.
At our next stop in Kooskia, Idaho our hostess, Nancy Fowler, had placed some books in the guest house in which Randy and I were staying. One of them was an autobiographical book by Hannah Hurnard, the author of Hinds’ Feet on High Places. The book was titled Wayfarer in the Land. I had been wanting to read it, and took the opportunity to do so while staying there.
In the book, Ms. Hurnard describes her experiences in Israel in the 1930s. She traveled there as a missionary at the leading of the Spirit of Christ. She was considered an unfit candidate for the work of evangelism, and was given menial tasks to do, assisting a doctor in his work, and performing other duties. Hannah had grown up with a stuttering problem, and also did not know the local language, for she had not been afforded the opportunity to go to language school. On top of this, she had much fear that she dealt with constantly.
Despite these limitations, she embarked upon this course, and spent years in Israel at a time when the Arabs were rising up seeking to drive the Jews from the land. There was great peril on many fronts. Even among the Jews, she was often met with much opposition and animosity, especially among the orthodox, for they despised the missionaries' attempts to convert them.
In the book, Hannah details how the Spirit led her and a few others to begin going out to villages all across the land in which no missionary had gone. This was a great trial. The journeys were physically difficult as good roads were almost non-existent. Her little car would easily get stuck, and she constantly feared breaking down in a remote area where help was not available. Often, due to the impassable nature of the roads, they would have to leave the car and walk great distances.
As I read of her experiences, entering villages where missionaries often feared to enter, and then later being sent to Arab villages where death was a very real possibility, especially if she were mistaken as a Jew, I was greatly impressed. This single woman had embarked upon a path that many a man would not venture upon. She did so by clinging to the Shepherd who was guiding her.
By comparison, my own experiences of trusting Yahweh for protection and provision of my family, seem rather tame. Even the later years of being at a Rescue Mission, camping alone in the woods, being put in jail, or traveling across the country on a wing and a prayer, seem mild when contrasted to the difficulties of a single woman in a foreign land.
After departing from Kooskia, Randy and I visited with some friends in Sheridan, Wyoming. We were talking about books when they mentioned to me one they had recently read on the life of Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China about the same time Hannah Hurnard was in Israel.
The experiences they detailed were extraordinary. As a young woman in her twenties in England she felt the call to missionary work in China. She was deemed unsuitable by mission organizations because she had difficulty with book work. Consequently, she had to find a way to get to China on her own. For two years she saved up money earned as a housekeeper until she could pay for passage by train through Europe, across Siberia, and into China.
Gladys knew no one in China. She had a single correspondence with a woman in her 70s in China. Having an invitation to come, Gladys set out alone to find this woman in the interior of the country. Along the way she ran into a war between the Russians and Chinese. She had to trek 30 miles at night through dense forest filled with wolves and bears in a snowstorm by herself. She was briefly jailed, and faced angry Russian men whose language she did not speak. She was put on a train to Vladivostok where she was waylaid by a man who sought to kidnap her as a foreign worker to be sent to an interior part of Siberia as a slave laborer. She barely escaped, fleeing on a Japanese freighter, and then had to travel across China where foreigners were looked upon as devils and she did not speak the language.
Upon hearing about this woman, I felt an urge to read more on her life. At our next stop in Kadoka, SD I saw that our hosts, Kenton and Angela Mckeehan, had a series of books on heroes of the faith. I pulled a slip of paper from my wallet on which I had written the name Gladys Aylward. I asked if they had heard of her. They not only had heard of her, but had the very book my friends had told me about. They gave it to me since they had already read it twice.
I sensed the Father ordering my steps in these things, and I looked forward to reading the book. I did so just a few days ago, finding the accounts of Gladys’ experiences to be very challenging. Truly Yahweh has had many women who have trodden more difficult paths than the vast majority of men. These have done so with grace, bearing much fruit in their patient perseverance.
The Bible describes the woman as a “weaker vessel.”
I Peter 3:7
You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman...
Such a description would rankle many a feminist today, but the description is in many ways appropriate. Weakness is not the detriment to an overcoming life that many consider it to be. Rather, our weakness can prove to be a great asset.
I have pondered how this can be the state of things. If women are weaker vessels and the obstacles before them are greater than those before men, how is it that so many of them are able to surpass men in the surrendered lives that they live and the obstacles they overcome? I believe the answer is found in the following verse of Scripture.
II Corinthians 12:9-10
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Those who are weak find a greater grace from the Father. I think it is quite possible that the strong, the successful in this world, the wise, and the mighty will have a more difficult time of walking as overcomers. Their strengths prevent them from drawing upon the limitless power of Yahweh. Seeking to perform a work, or walk an afflicted path, in their own power, they find the going very difficult. Whereas, those without strength will look to Yahweh to continuously accomplish in and through them that which they know they are incapable of doing.
I have often testified that the Father did not choose me due to any strength inherent in me. He chose a man who was physically weak and easily broken, who was beset with many fears, and has called me to walk an extraordinary path. The strength that has held me to the course has not been my own. It has been His. He is able to put steel in the backbone of the weakest of vessels and cause them to stand.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Yahshua Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
If you are a weak person and are daunted by the path before you which all overcomers must walk, be encouraged. Our Father knows our frame that we are but dust. He delights in taking weaklings and jelly fish and giving them hinds’ feet.
If you are entering into a time of weakness and find it distressing, know also that this is the mercy of the Father. Many who have been successful in the world are finding their success to be slipping away. Those who have had money and many possessions are beginning to experience lack. Some who were physically strong are finding themselves limited by some weakness in body or soul.
The purpose behind all this is that we might find our strength and ability in Him. Yahweh will accomplish much through those who place their life and trust in Him.
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which He will accomplish for you today... Yahweh will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. It is not by our doing that we overcome. It is by resting in the promises of our Father.
If you are a woman, or a weakling, be encouraged. When we are weak, He is strong. Let us then as Paul, boast about our weakness, for in it the power of God is given room to manifest itself.
II Corinthians 13:4
For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.
While all the world, and a worldly church trusts in their own strength, let the remnant of Yahweh’s people put no confidence in the flesh. Let our confidence be in the One who has called us.
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised...
By His power even a barren womb can bring forth life. So too can the weak bring forth strength. Yahweh is faithful. He will accomplish ALL that He has promised.
“In that day,” declares Yahweh, “I will assemble the lame, and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcasts a strong nation, and Yahweh will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever.”
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