How Far Will Your Faith Carry You?
Sometimes when a person fails at something, you’ll hear someone say they went “a bridge too far.”
In life, we constantly come upon problems and battles, and we wonder if it it’s worth fighting or will we look back, in defeat, and say, ‘I shouldn’t have fought it. It was a bridge too far’.
So, what helps us win our ‘battles on the bridge’?
I believe it’s faith in God.
One of the best, literal, examples of this occurred on October 28th, in the year 312AD, when a battle took place on the Milvian Bridge, in Italy.
On one side of the bridge was the Roman Emperor, Maxentius with over 20,000 of his soldiers. On the other side of the bridge was another Roman Emperor, Constantine, also with 20,000 soldiers.
They were about to engage in a ferocious battle that would decide who would be the leader of the entire Western Roman Empire.
As was the custom at the time, the Emperors engaged the services of a soothsayers and magicians to “forecast” the outcome of the battle. The soothsayers and magicians made their proclamation: Maxentius was going to defeat Constantine. Constantine was devastated.
As Constantine rode back to tell his troops the horrible news, a beam of light, in the sky, caught his attention. He paused and stared upward and saw the symbol of the cross with the letters: IC XC NI KA.
The IC XC meant: Jesus Christ.
The NI KA meant: Victory.
Constantine believed this was a sign to him that with Christ, he and his troops would have victory.
He rode back to his troops and instructed them to put the sign of the cross on their shields. The troops, at first, refused to do so. To them, the manner in which Christ died, crucified on a cross, was humiliating. Also, since the time of Jesus’ death, if you stated that you were a Christian, you would most likely be tortured or killed.
So, they could not understand why their leader, Constantine, would want them to put such a crushing symbol on their shields.
However, his soldiers finally acquiesced to his request and put the symbol of the cross, on their shields.
The battle the next day was a ferocious one, but in the end Constantine and his soldiers won the battle and Constantine became the leader of the Western Roman Empire.
The following year, 313, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity an officially recognized and accepted religion. This paved the way for Christianity to begin to spread throughout the world.
The irony to all of this was that Constantine, himself, did not become a Christian, at that time. It was only at the end of his life, as he reached his final days, that he took off the purple robe of the Emperor and was baptized in the white robe of a baptized Christian, and became a follower of Christ.
As he was baptized, Constantine said, “I have longed for this day my whole life.”
That has made many people believe that, yes, the sign of the cross, in the sky, was telling Constantine that if he and his soldiers put the sign of the cross on their shields, they would have victory the next day, but, also, it was telling Constantine (and us?) that when we accept the cross (Jesus) in our lives, then we shall have victory in our lives.
That is why, In the movie Faith, Hope & Love, Jimmy, the character I play wears a sweatshirt with the lettering IC XC NI KA on it.
Jimmy is encountering that bridge of faith moment, in the movie, and I thought it was a great way of showing how he conquers it – and, also I thought it was a cool sweatshirt!
Keep the faith,