February 24, 2021
Dear Praying Believers,
Rachel and I would like to express our thanks for your fellowship in prayer for our prodigals and for revival. God has special purposes for your life, and one of those includes praying for others. What a privilege!
I receive the daily articles of Tim Challies and have been following the sad, yet hope-filled story of the home-call of his son Nick, a quiet and pensive young man with a small circle of friends and a large library of books. After trusting in Christ, getting baptized, Nick became an integral part of a Bible-believing church in downtown Toronto. He was attending the twin institutions of Boyce College and the South Baptist Theological Seminary. He had met the love of his life and was planning a wedding in the spring of 2021, but while playing a game in a park on November 3, 2020, he suddenly collapsed and died. He was only twenty years old. The cause of death still remains unknown.
Every once in a while Tim writes about his son and today his article is entitled, “Homesick.” He tells how his father went to be with the Lord a little while ago and then his son followed shortly after. The two key men in his life - gone. He lost the one whose steps he tried to follow in and the one who was following in his.
As Tim talks about heaven, he says, “Never have I had such longing to be there, for never have I been able to envision a welcome from those who are so familiar, so beloved, so sorely missed.” Then, near the end of his article, he avers, “I’m confident that, despite my longing, to be here is more needful than to be there, at least for the moment.”
It was this last statement that caught my attention, “To be here is more needful than to be there.” While his reason is different, Paul writes similar words in his letter to the Philippians. “But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor to me. Yet I do not know what I shall choose. I am in a difficult position between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake” (Phil. 1:22-24 MEV).
Paul’s mind and heart were fully occupied with the Lord Jesus. He loved Christ. He lived for Christ. He preached about Christ. He suffered for Christ. He longed to know Christ more. And according to his words in verse twenty-three, his greatest desire was to be with Christ. But...But what? But it was more needful for the believers he served, that he remain alive on earth rather than in heaven.
Paul understood that God had a plan for his life, and he willingly embraced it. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t what he had planned. But he had chosen to surrender his will to what God wanted.
It is a very basic concept, but we need to be reminded of this in our lives. This is where God wants us to be. He wants us to be so in love with Jesus that we yearn to be with Him, yet are willing to give our all for Him as long as He wants us here.
Have you thought lately about the specific purposes God may have for you - the reasons He has left you where you are? Who has God placed on your heart? What abilities and gifts has He given you to serve the church with? What present circumstance has He placed you in? These are good questions that help us discern how God desires to use us today.
What is the needful thing God has left you here for?
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel