Echoes From the Campfire

Failure was never permanent unless a man deliberately made it so, that disaster was something to meet and forget and walk away from.”
              –Ernest Haycox (Canyon Passage)

    “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
              –Luke 22:32 (NKJV)
I came across something in my morning readings that I wanted to pass on for you to ponder.  It was from one of the early church hermits.  Now, this is not to argue, agree or disagree, on the life of the hermit, whether it was right or wrong.  Surely the motive was right, to be alone with Christ and separate from the world.  They may have missed the mark by not being more evangelistic, but they were sincere individuals.

         “Someone asked a hermit how he could avoid being shocked when he saw monks returning to the world.  He said, ‘Think of hounds chasing a rabbit.  One dog sees the rabbit and begins the chase, the rest of the pack simply see and hear a hound running.  They will join the lead dog for a while, but soon tire and return the way they came.  Only the first hound continues the chase until he overtakes the rabbit.  The desertion of his companions does not discourage him.  Thickets, briars, and cliffs will not turn him aside.  Scratched and wounded, he continues to chase the rabbit.  So it is with anyone who runs after the Lord Jesus.  We keep our eyes on the cross, leaping over every obstacle until we come to him.'”  (Bernard Bangley, “By Way of the Desert”)

    There is a key word in the first sentence, that is the word “shocked.”  It does not say grieved, or sorrowful.  We should be grieved when a person deliberately walks away from the Lord, but it really shouldn’t shock us.  Jesus said that we should count the cost.  Many will find the cost too great, or at least in world terms.  Some will be choked by the cares of the world.  
    The person that comes to my mind is Demas.  Paul writes in Colossians that Luke and Demas sent their greetings.  It seems that Demas was, at least for a time, a traveling companion of Paul.  However, when Paul writes to Timothy, he pens these words, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed…” (2 Timothy 4:10)  Another version puts it this way, “Demas has deserted me because he has loved the things of this life…” (NLT)
    To be in love with the world, and the things of the world is to turn away from Christ.  The hardship and sufferings, and there are various kinds of each, become too much for them.  They do not have the vision of heaven nor the person of Christ etched in their heart.  But the true believer, no matter his physical condition, no matter the obstacles in the road, will not turn back.