When discouragement comes, when despair sets in, when you feel completely alone, remember that you are not alone on this journey toward Christ-likeness.

Follow the footsteps of the ancients.

Look back.
Remember the Christians through the ages. Think about the foundation of the Church in Acts. Read Foxes’ Book of Martyrs and see what Christians have gone through for Christ’s sake. Muse on the lives of individuals like William Wilberforce, St. Augustine, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, Mother Thersea, St. Francis of Assissi, Corrie Ten Boom, Watchman Nee, George Muller, Amy Carmichael, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, St. Patrick, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jim Elliot and many, many others.

Look around. See the global Church. There are Christians around the world facing trials of different kinds. People around the world are fighting now for Christ’s sake. There are organizations such as IJM that are publicly doing a lot to pursue justice around the world in Christ’s name. These organizations are wonderful and do a lot of good, but remember that there are people fighting individually as well. Remember the catholic (global) Church and remember your connection to these people around the world.

We are saints together with these others. Together, we represent the Bride of Christ. This is both an encouragement and an admonition. It is an encouragement because we have the writings and wisdom and support of all of these siblings. We do not fight alone. Yet it is also an admonition to be functioning as part of this Body, to receive from the ancient and modern saints and to give what we can to current and future saints.

As Sara Groves sings, “When the saints go marching in, I wanna be one of them!”

When The Saints (Sara Groves):

Lord I have a heavy burden of all I’ve seen and know
It’s more than I can handle
But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and I cannot let it go

And when I’m weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

Lord it’s all that I can’t carry and cannot leave behind
it often overwhelms me
but when I think of all who’ve gone before and lived the faithful life
their courage compels me
And when I’m weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharohs court
I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the Saints go marching in

I want to be one of them

I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

I see the young missionary and the angry spear
I see his family returning with no trace of fear

I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
I see the sister standing by the dying man’s side

I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door

I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road
I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
and when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

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