“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (Philippians 1:21-24, ESV)
Things are different for all of us right now. Nothing … nothing is the same as far as our lives, schedules, or in just our being as comfortable as we can hope to be in life as we have been in the past! It is in this unusual time frame that we are living that the term ‘isolation’ comes to mind often.
We’re not prisoners as such in our own living space … we can go outside … we can move around … we can go for a drive … we can drive by and pick up groceries that we have ordered online. So, prisoners we are not!
As a matter of fact, if viewed from a more spiritual perspective, we have been given some time to simply ‘pause’ and give some much needed time to reflect on life and on what is really important!
Music is something that I truly enjoy listening to … in my study … when I’m walking … when I’m driving … when I just need to relax, take a few deep breaths … and chill!
There is a song entitled ‘Turning For Home’ written by a former NFL defensive tackle by the name of Mike Reid. Found in this beautiful song that paints with words such a beautiful picture … are some encouraging thoughts for each of us … please indulge me as I quote from the opening verse, and try to imagine the scene:
‘The daylight hours are dying, the night is breaking clear.
In the distance a boy and his daddy are riding on an old John Deere.
Suppers on the table, Son quitting time is nigh.
Set these wheels straight for the barn.
It’s time that you and I are turning for home.
Kick off these working shoes and rest these weary bones.
Say a prayer for sun and rain on the fields we have sown! Cause we’re turning for home.’
The apostle Paul possessed the kind of hope that goes way beyond the circumstances of life! You see … he was ‘turning for home’ … he was ready to be with the Lord! He had accomplished so much in his life after his conversion … preaching in so many places … teaching so many the truth … being persecuted beyond anything you and I could ever imagine … and yet he held on to the hope he had in Jesus Christ!
I’m not a farmer … but I had two uncles who were and I can remember from early childhood how hard their work was … literally from sunup to sundown. I’ve been privileged over the years to preach in rural communities where farming/ranching was the principle source of income and have talked with and witnessed the hard life of farmers.
To be in the fields all day … to see the sun beginning to set … knowing what awaited when they got home … they could turn toward home … not knowing if they would have another day to repeat the process … not knowing if the weather would undo all that they had done!
Our lives are like that. Hopefully and prayerfully we are “workers in the vineyard for the Lord”… we’ve done our best to serve Him … to share His precious message with all who would listen … pick ourselves back up when we’ve stumbled … and grow in our faith and trust in the Lord with each passing day!
There are days when I am ready to ‘turn toward home’ … when the burdens, disappointments in self, others and the world can seem to be almost too much to bear. Yet, I can look at the life of the Apostle Paul … and I can see the faith and confidence of a man … a man with strengths and weaknesses … that refused to give in or give up!
I can see in the Apostle Paul the desire to be with the Lord, can’t you! A good friend recently reminded me that what they really wanted was “to go to Heaven.” Well, my friend, that is exactly what I want, but it will not happen without faith and trust in our mighty God!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing.” ((2 Timothy 4:7-8, NKJV)
May we all remember that a short stay on earth will make the joy, rest and peace of Heaven that much more beautiful to experience and behold! “Lord, increase our faith” and may we yearn for the words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of thy Lord.”
Bill Fairchild, Jr