"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
- 2 Corinthians 5:7
He'd been taken prisoner by the Russians, and things were about to get worse. The man's name was Clemens Forrell, a lieutenant in the German army, and the time period was World War II.
On the train to the Siberian death camp, many of the captured German soldiers froze to death in the brutal cold. Those who survived the journey, faced an equally horrific fate: labor in the coal mines till you die! However, Clemens was determined to somehow survive, in order to return to Germany and see his lovely wife and brand new infant daughter.
While in the POW camp, he faced exhaustion, sickness, injury, and guard brutality. But the doctor of the camp took a liking to Clemens and made him an irrefusable offer: he'd equip Clemens with the tools to escape and even with provisions for the journey! The doctor had himself planned on escaping, but discovered that he had advanced cancer, and opted to assist Clemens get home to his beloved family instead.
On the fateful night of his escape, the doctor gave his life for Clemens by creating and elaborate distraction. Clemens vanished like a ghost, into the night of the harsh Siberian wilderness, running for his life.
Over the course of the next few days, Clemens became dangerously close to starvation, freezing, and even going insane in the white wastelands of Siberia. But, miraculously, he found his way and proceeded southward on foot towards warmer temperatures. Though he was being pursued by the warden of the POW camp, guard dogs, and Russian soldiers, Clemens simply kept on walking and walking.
Eventually, throughout his long journey, Clemens encountered men who tried to murder him; wolfs that tried to eat him; soldiers who tried to shoot him...but he simply kept walking and walking towards home, longing to see his wife and child.
All in all, this amazing man kept walking and walking for over 3 years, and for more than 8,000 miles! An amazing testimony to the power of love and hope, to carry us through the darkest days of life...if we will just keep walking and walking towards home.
Paul the apostle told us in Galatians 5:16:
"Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
He challenged the Ephesians in 4:1 to:
"..walk worthy of the calling with which your were called.."
To the Colossians in chapter 1:10-11, Paul prayed for them to:
"..walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.."
The original Greek word he uses is "peripateo" meaning "the manner of lifestyle and living you possess." Today, we would simply say "the way you walk through life." It's a very common picture in the New Testamet of the Christian life - simply walking after Christ, walking for Christ, and walking like Christ.
Here's the question: Are YOU walking like Clemens in this world? Do YOU and I have that type of unflinching determination to keep walking with Christ... no matter what? Will we choose to keep walking with Jesus, despite the difficulties, trials, dangers, and challenges? If an unsaved soldier could show such determination, endurance, and hope in his journey... can't WE with Christ?
If you've grown weary and tired in you walk, if you feel like giving up, then just remember Clemens Forrell, a soldier, who refused to quit, and relentlessly marched onward until he arrived at home.
Better yet, remember the soldiers of the Cross who did the same thing over the course of their lives: Joshua; David; Paul; Peter; Polycarp; Luther; Spurgeon... and so many other who boldly lived for Jesus and walked with Jesus their entire lives!
Better still, remember Jesus in Hebrews 12:1,2
"..let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Remember Christ, His great love displayed for you on the Cross... and just keep walking!