On a recent Friday morning, I attended a memorial service at Columbia Bible College for Chester Bitterman, class of 1974. It was a short, simple ceremony in the hot Carolina sun: a very brief eulogy for him and three others who preceded him to a martyr’s grave, a word from his surviving brother, a beautiful and appropriate passage of Scripture, and a prayer. That was all.

In the afternoon I wandered over to Memorial Hall and reverently gazed up at the small plaque already in place: “Chester Bitterman, 1974. As a hostage in a terrorist protest against missions in Colombia, 1981.”

But as I finished reading, my eye swept on to the broad space of wall as yet unassigned. Unassigned? I suddenly remembered my own son now corresponding with a mission board about service in Central Africa. A sharp pain shot through me. There would be another and another and still others. As God unveils his plan for his witnessing church, those empty spaces on the wall will be assigned. His Assignments!

Whose sons and daughters will God call to meet those assignments? Once again the cost of discipleship pressed overwhelmingly upon my heart and mind. But then came almost instantaneously the equally vivid reminder of the reality of the cross of Calvary and the strength that flows from knowing a God who loves like that.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.… Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.… Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord (from Rom. 8 and 1 Cor. 15).

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