Sunday, February 8, 2015
Paul, still speaking of his imprisonment in Rome ...
19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. (Philippians 1, NKJV)
Everything we do, everything we endure, is for one thing ... for the sake of the One who came to this earth and gave His life for us.
Every effort we make ... His life, His Spirit, working in us, as we surrender ourselves to Him. And every moment we’re here, it’s another chance to pray, to encourage, to affect others for Him, to bring them closer to Him.
Yet, under the surface of all the work and prayer and concern, we feel a longing for release. For home.
I’ve written of that before, but it’s true. Even Paul, who saw so clearly in his time, felt that tug to step through the veil and be made finally complete. But he as tells us, sometimes our reason for being kept here isn’t so much for our own refining and growth—although that’s part of it too—as it is because we’re still needed by those around us.
I think about this as I’ve watched my mother suffer various medical trials the last few years, things which at any moment could have, and some almost did, take her life. A vibrant, intelligent woman with a deep love for color and art and reading, she spends her days now sitting, waiting, listening ... nearly blind and all but confined to one place. Why? I’ve asked, so many times.
Because her journey isn’t finished yet, I keep hearing.
The prayers she offers for those she loves are invaluable. And she provides a reminder of the fragility of human life and relationships. An opportunity for our family, and others, to learn to minister to those weaker than ourselves.
Sure, sometimes her mind is fuzzy from the medications. And she often asks the same questions over and over, and then gets so busy thinking about the next thing she wants to say/ask that she doesn’t wait for my answer. I miss the woman she used to be ... but she’s still my mom. And I still need her. I need the lessons of love, of humility, of compassion.
However useless I might feel, too, in the throes of whatever trial I happen to be going through, there’s someone who needs me, and the lessons I have to share. Probably several someones, and not only my husband and children.
I am not finished yet. And, I’m willing to bet, neither are you.