Focus – Following Jesus
By Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock –
The newly commissioned lieutenants, resplendent in their new red epaulets, are on their way to their first appointments. The second year cadets, looking a little older and wiser than when they first entered the College for Officer Training, have arrived at their summer assignments. New, eager, expectant, fresh looking men and women have stepped out in faith for a lifetime adventure, following Jesus. That’s the “good news” each June.
My wife and I made up a group of 29 who gathered for a time of reminiscing about the 40 years since we all stepped over the threshold of the training school to our first appointments. What adventure these past 40 years have held for us! Some have served the full 40. Others have, for one reason or other, had to drop out of active service for a time, then to return. Others faced personal life tragedies and are no longer with us as active officers. And yes, after 40 years some have retired, some have been promoted to Glory, and some have simply disappeared. In spite of all our best efforts, there were still two or three that couldn’t be located. We were the “Faithful” session.
How much we had in common with the present classes of just commissioned cadets and the new second years. We are all “followers of Jesus.”
The song we sang at the Service of Appointment during the Victory Congress is filled with meaning; “Jesus, I my cross have taken.” When you are young, the cross is often far off, not really of much concern, but when you are older, and have seen those who have made shipwreck of their lives or have had tragedy after tragedy befall them, you have a deeper understanding of the cross. There is the cross of no longer being the “master” of your own destiny, and there is the cross of illness, or divorce, or loss of a loved one. Sometimes there is a cross of failure, of loneliness, of feeling despised, forsaken.
All to leave, and follow thee;
Though I be despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
At those times, when all seems lost and we are in the depths of despair, it is toward Jesus that our gaze must take us.
I will follow thee, my Saviour,
Thou hast shed thy blood for me;
And though all the world forsake thee,
By Thy grace I’ll follow thee.
In reflecting on those who started off with such high hope and vision 40 years ago, it is evident that it is God’s grace that has carried them through.
So, for those fresh young lieutenants and second year cadets, our advice is keep following Jesus! Through flood or fire, famine or failure, look to Jesus! It is his grace, his love, that is the good news that you must preach and live! Our prayer is that God’s sustaining grace will give victory and joy to each new officer and second year cadet!
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;” ( KJV Heb 12:2)