Even So, Come Lord Jesus
Longevity of life has many rewards. Most of those are discovered in seeing the rewards that friends and family reap as a result of walking with God, rearing children to love Him and serve Him, and the bonus of getting to see the light in the faces of the “new generation” of grandchildren. The optimism of youth buoys the spirits of those who would be downcast if left to their own repetitions of woes and ills. It does not take wisdom to see flaws, faults, and fissures in the foundations of our present age. But it does take a disciplined view to still see the good things that a day provides for all of us from the Hand of our Good God.
This past weekend, I conducted the funeral for a person that had lived on God’s earth for 103 years. In preparing a message for her service, I could not imagine the milestone of living over 100 years! She was born when America was about to enter WWI. She lived during a century of the greatest changes in every field since the beginning of time. Her faith in Christ was solid. Her love for family was sure. And, her legacy included 40 grandchildren and 45 great-grandchildren. As we celebrated her life, I could only think of how marvelous the moment was when she heard the voice of Jesus call her by name. At that instant, that 103-year-old woman bounded from her bed into the presence of the Almighty with more energy and strength than she had ever had a as teenager! Today she is HOME forevermore! What a blessing for her and what a blessed hope for all of us that truly know Jesus, too!
Appreciation of heaven is frequently highest among those nearing death. Suffering both increases our desire for heaven and prepares us for it. John Bradford (1510-1555), less than five months before his fiery departure from life for preaching the gospel in violent times, wrote to a friend of the glories of heaven he anticipated:
I am assured that though I want here, I have riches there; though I hunger here, I shall have fullness there; though I faint here, I shall be refreshed there; and though I be accounted here as a dead man, I shall there live in perpetual glory.
That is the city promised to the captives whom Christ shall make free; that is the kingdom assured to them whom Christ shall crown; there is the light that shall never go out; there is the health that shall never be impaired; there is the glory that shall never be defaced; there is the life that shall taste no death; and there is the portion that passes all the world’s preferment. There is the world that shall never wax worse; there is every want supplied freely without money; there is no danger, but happiness, and honor, and singing, and praise and thanksgiving unto the heavenly Jehovah, “to him that sits on the throne,” “to the lamb” that here was led to the slaughter, that now “reigns” with whom I “shall reign” after I have run this comfortless race through this miserable earthly vale. (Copied).