Have you ever wondered why Christians fight so hard to keep from going home? In prayer and in church, we express our deep need to see Jesus "face-to-face." Yet when the rubber meets the road and it looks like we might get our wish, we start furiously back-tracking.
"Years ago" I prayed a desperate prayer. (It's okay to talk about the outlandish things we've done in our lives, as long as we preface it with "years ago." Few of us would admit the outlandish things we did yesterday, or the day before.) Looking back, I'd say it was a foolish prayer, but at the time it seemed appropriate.
I told God "If this is the best it's ever going to be, I wish You'd call me home now." Within weeks I became desperately ill. Whether I was "sick unto death" or not, I'll never know. But I was scared. I was sure God was answering my prayer. And, of all things, I did an about-face. I asked Him to forgive me for uttering that prayer and heal me. More than anything in the world, I wanted more time on earth.
I was pretty young at the time. Whether or not God had allowed my illness to come on me, who knows. But I imagine He was smiling and shaking His head, saying "Make up your mind, child."
I know of a church-going man in his mid-90's who was hospitalized and near the end. He begged his children to do whatever was necessary . . . but to please not let him die. (As though they had the power to keep him alive.) In time he did, of course, die. With his pastor at his side. I think he'd made a decision for Christ years earlier . . . so why the abject fear of death?
This man's experience made me think about the extremes we go to in order to spend another year, another month, another day in this place. A place that's becoming more and more intolerant of us and of our God. Which begs the question . . . at what age, or at what point in our spiritual maturity do we finally fully grasp the scriptural truth that to live is Christ and to die is gain. GAIN . . . that means it's better there than it is here.
There is no existence that can transcend being in the presence of our Lord and Savior.
In case you think I'm sounding suicidal . . . may it never be. I would never rush God. But neither will I throw any roadblocks in His way if He decides it's my time, nor fight the inevitable in an attempt to keep this aging body reluctantly operating. If Jesus doesn't come before, I may have another twenty years on this planet. But I will spend every minute of that time in sweet anticipation of what is to come.
Where do you stand on this subject?