Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Home, Lord, home, Lord - ALL THE WAY!"

My dad turned 65 last week.  Ten years ago that sounded old, and twenty years ago it sounded really old.  Neither of my grandpas made it to their 66th birthday, so as a kid my perspective was slightly skewed (not to mention anyone over 18 just IS old when you're little). So I suppose what I'm saying is that as I ease closer to the halfway mark of 65, I've realized it's actually not that old. (You're welcome, Dad ;)

Several months ago we had this one super sunny day in the middle of February. You probably know it if you live around here, because there are literally no other days to get it confused with. Anyway, in the excitement of the moment I sent a text to a few friends and low and behold we all spent our afternoon at the park soaking in the rays. It was glorious. The kids played and we chatted about all the things. Somehow dying came up and I announced that I couldn't wait to die and that my goal was 65 - I felt that was a fair age for me to aspire to as it still feels like forever but at the same time I really don't want to be 90! I think one of my friends may have choked on her water and they basically all assured me that was probably too young. I kind of agreed to disagree and we moved on with the conversation.

A few nights later it was my birthday (remember that almost halfway to 65 part?!?) and I had the opportunity to steal away for a couple hours and listen to whatever I wanted to all by my lonesome in the car. I turned on a podcast that I'd been wanting to get to and soaked in every breath of this sweet lady's words. Jill Briscoe is almost 82, grew up with bombs being dropped all around her during World War II, and has spent countless days in countries all over the world sharing Jesus with strangers.  She read this poem she wrote at the very end of one of her recent trips to India:

One day in India after a traumatic and wrenching ministry visit, Jesus asked me a hard question. It happened like this:
Shaken, drained, discouraged, sickly
Tired and troubled and depressed, 
Glad the time of serving over,
Now I’ll go home and rest.
Hot and humid was the weather
Sad and needy was the crowd, 
Feeling I had done my duty,
Earned the time of rest allowed. 
Soon I could return to family
"Yes," tomorrow I’d be gone, 
Sitting in the last hot meeting,
I tuned in to what went on.
Listened to my husband preaching,
My, it was a great last talk, 
All about the call of Jesus,
All about our life’s “faith walk.” 
Stuart opened up the Scriptures
Talked of Jesus’ pain and loss, 
How He who was our great sin bearer,
Bore our guilt upon His cross.
What a great word for the students!
Hoped “they’d” listened, yield their hearts, 
They were young, their lives before them,
Now their turn to do their part.
Time for prayers of dedication,
I was tired, so late at night,
Shut my eyes and wished it over,
When a picture sprang to sight!
Saw a cross alone, discarded
Lain at rest against a wall, 
Who’d lain down such holy symbol?
Who’d abandoned life’s “faith call”? 
Then a voice so dear – familiar,
Asked a question – pierced me through, 
Who is it that you’re expecting
Carrying it home for you?
How could I lay down that crossbeam?
How to think that no one saw? 
Who did I expect to lift it,
Carry it to heaven’s door? 
"Jesus, Jesus, please forgive me,
Carried Thou your cross for me, 
All the way to hell to save us,
Help me carry mine for Thee!"
"I’m no hero – special woman
Just a lady, old and gray, 
But my cross, Lord, I will carry,
Home, Lord, home, Lord – ALL THE WAY!" 
Spoke His voice so quiet – but clearly then:
"All the way home, Jill; all the way, all the way home!"
I sat there and wept in the car. "Home, Lord, home, Lord, all the way!" I whispered. The conversation fresh on my mind of dying at 65 creating a much needed conviction about whose life this really is.

Here's the truth. For the last two and a half years I haven't really felt like this is home, and I am so thankful for that perspective. We moved shortly after Zekey died and people were often asking how much we loved our  new home and if it really felt like "home" yet. I often smiled and said it was getting there, but deep down I've longed and prayed for nothing to ever feel like my "forever home". I know it's not here. I might be here for ten more years, or twenty or even forty more years, but I won't be here forever. I long for the day I'll be home, really, truly home, and if that means I'll have wrinkles and gray hair, then BRING IT ON old age!!! I know it's healthy to want to be with Jesus. I know deep down that to die would be such a gain {for me} but what I hadn't been focusing on is all that can be gained, for Him, while I'm still here. I want to be whole. I want to be free from sin and pain and all the evil in this world, and I want to spend my days in the presence of the Lord, but I want it to be in His perfect timing, and I want to carry my cross to the end. "Home, Lord, home Lord, all the way!"

So this is my cross - to dig deep into his word, to point my kids toward Jesus, to love my husband, to beg Him to show Himself to me more and more and ask Him to reach deep into the lives of my friends and family, to take big deep breaths and say, "You are good", even on the days that hurt, and to long to be made whole.

Jesus, help me carry this cross. I can not do it alone! 

No comments:

Post a Comment