“When my life work is ended and I cross the swelling tide, when the bright and glorious morning I shall see; I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side, and His smile will be the first to welcome me.
“O the soul-thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face and the luster of His kindly beaming eye; how my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace that prepare for me a mansion in the sky.
“O the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come, and our parting at the river I recall; to the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home, but I long to meet my Savior first of all.
“Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white, He will lead me where no tears will ever fall; in the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight, but I long to meet my Savior first of all.
“I shall know Him, I shall know Him, and redeemed by His side I shall stand. I shall know Him, I shall know Him by the prints of the nails in His hand.” (Fanny J. Crosby, 1891)
The Apostle John had to be weary. He was in exile on the Isle of Patmos; his crime — faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was deprived of adequate food and shelter, and he had little or no human companionship. And perhaps worst of all, no WiFi or smartphone. Most of us could not survive under such primitive conditions.
But His God was with him and while stranded there, John was afforded the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”. He was told to write down things past, present and future and he recorded his fifth book that would be included in the canon of Scripture.
Much of what John saw was horrific and depressing at best. He was given a view of a future when God, His patience worn thin, finally and with great and just punishment, judged sin and disobedience. John also saw the end of all those who rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, their own exile into the eternal Lake of Fire.
But God also gave John a wonderful view of his eternal home and the home of all those who trust and love Jesus Christ. The last two chapters of Revelation show much about heaven. John must have really struggled for words, but found that all the languages of the world were insufficient to describe the glory of that place prepared for us. So, he described it as best he could and let us know that it will be a place where the Triune God lives, a place without sin, sickness, trouble or death.
Three times in the last chapter, Jesus reiterates the promise He made in John 14: “I will come for you”. And John concludes the book with that statement which shows his weariness with the world and his anticipation of Heaven, “Even so, COME LORD JESUS!” And I think he would have loved Fanny Crosby’s song (above).
I’m weary too. I’ve never suffered like the early apostles and church did; I’ve not suffered as the persecuted church is doing today in so many parts of the world. And I may never do so. But I’m weary.
I’m weary of school and church shootings. I’m weary of daily reading about killings, rapes, robberies, drugs and the like. I’m weary of deaths in automobile wrecks and of just attending funerals of friends and family.
I’m weary of hate and animosity. I’m weary of the inanity of partisan politics going on all through America (And yes, Mr. Nadler, I too am in contempt of Congress because your shenanigans have made yourselves so contemptible).
I’m weary of family squabbles, abuse, killing our unborn babies, divorces and the inability of people who once professed love to get along.
I’m weary of diseases, famines, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. Of poverty and great need in a world of over-abundance. I’m weary.
I know and I understand that this is all part of living as fallen people in a fallen, sinful world. And I fully believe in a sovereign God who is in complete control and, even while giving Satan much reign over this world, still reigns in Satan.
I know one day Jesus will do as He said: “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)
And I know that in God’s perfect timing, all prophetic events will take place. And I believe that God has a purpose in all things that occur and even in my life and that He will leave us here until such time as He decides to take us home.
Yes, I’m weary. But I’m also trying to be content and let God be God. I’m not rushing myself out of here, but know He has a place reserved for me. And yet, I often reflect on Fanny Crosby’s song (it was sung at the funerals of both my Mother and Father), and long for the time when I’ll see my “Savior first of all”.
Yes, there are bunches and bunches of people I want to see again in heaven…family, friends, co-workers. There are those taken before birth that we’ll see for the first time. And I want to sit down with many of the Bible men and women and hear their experiences. And we’ll have an eternity to do that.
But for all of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who gave His all to redeem our lost souls, He’s the star of heaven. He’s the center and focus of eternity. And yes, I do want to see my Savior and I do think I’ll know Him (like Crosby described) “by the prints of the nails in His hands.” Even so, come, Lord Jesus.