And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
Once a dear woman died.
She had found peace in God and died with a smile on her face, leaving her husband behind. When the man shared his joy with others how God had taken her home, several unbelievers scoffed and cried out: “How can you say such stuff. You have prayed for your wife’s healing, but nothing happened. Now she is dead and buried, and you are left alone. So much for that faith of yours. Why did you even pray?”
The man, without bitterness, answered in a gentle tone. “You don’t understand. It is your understanding that people pray because they want answers that change their circumstances. But that’s not what prayer is all about. I rather leave the circumstances in the hand of God and I pray because I have to pray. There is such a deep need within me to connect to the Savior. When I pray, I see the face of Jesus. That is all I need, and that’s the reason I pray.”
Someone has said that the circumstances will not always change because of prayer, but that prayer always changes the one who is praying.
The goal of prayer is therefore not in the first place the getting of what we think we need. Jesus wants to supply our needs, and He does not mind when we call out to Him for our needs, but one thing is dearer to Him. It’s our deep connection to Him personally. When we sense the presence of Jesus, for whatever small amount of time it may be, our lives are touched, and unspeakable joy is the result.
That joy results from the absolute knowledge that we are safe, no matter what the circumstances. Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast. Here no fears alarm me, here can my soul find rest. *
Knowing God in that way is the ultimate blessing. In the Bible story of Mary and Martha, we have a good example to follow.
You know the story. Jesus came for a visit to the two sisters and Martha, working hard, tried to be a good host, while Mary was just lost in the eyes of Jesus.
Something of both of the sisters lives within us too. We are all driven by the pace of the world; we all want to have a clean house when Jesus comes to visit, and we all have those moments when we run around feverishly to accomplish that goal. But Mary, in Jesus’ own words, chose the good part, and that part was to sit at His feet and learn directly from the Master.
If we learn to let the Mary in us have the upper hand in our lives, we will ultimately radiate with the joy and the peace that will be the witness that this world needs.
Finding that perfect balance between rest and work is never easy. Paul knew it too, which is why he said, “Fight the good fight of the faith.”
It is a fight to keep in daily touch with Jesus. But it is a fight that is more than worth it. And… it will not always be like this.
We will not always have to strive with our earthly temptations and weaknesses. One day soon, we will enter eternity, and we will be forever with the Lord. And then, we will realize that it was worth it all.
Again, Paul has something to say on the subject. He said, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.”
Effort? Yes, it takes effort in this world to enter into the closet. Whatever we put in, we will also get out of it. But the joy of meeting Jesus face to face will be worth the effort, and soon the fight is over when the peace that passes all understanding will be forever ours.
The famous evangelist Spurgeon writes: “In heaven, our joys will no longer be disturbed by duty, care or sin. No tears will darken our eyes, and nothing will mar our relationship with Jesus. If we already can experience such mountains of joy in our personal time of communion with Him in this sin-filled world, how much better and blessed will it be when we will be with Him in heaven, and we see Him face to face and forever. Then the curtains will be forever drawn aside.”
So hold fast to the knowledge that the best is yet to come. Never forget that this life is only the driveway to the eternal house of God. We haven’t actually entered the house yet. But soon we will when we are forever with the Lord.
But for today, seek His face daily, withdraw into your closet, close the door and glance into those wonderful eyes of Jesus and hear Him say, “I love you… I am with you forever.”
* 1 Timothy 6:12 * Hebrews 4:11 *1 Corinthians 13:12