Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Highways To Zion

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, 
In whose heart are the highways to Zion! (Psalms 84:5 NASB)

If You Live Well, You Will Die Well
            Nobody wants to talk about death, but the great equalizer will beset us all.  If as a follower of Christ we have lived well, then as Christians we will die well.
             I grew up in the coalfields of western Pennsylvania where my best friend passed away eleven years ago.  We travel back to this area about once a year to visit my wife’s family.  On almost every trip I stop by the cemetery where the mortal remains of my boyhood friend rest.  As the years started to pass after my friend’s death, I started to notice other graves of people I had known.  First, I noticed graves of people who had graduated before me, and then I started to see grave markers of people who had finished high school after me.  Then one day, there they were side by side, the graves of George and David Titler.  The Titler twins were two of the most popular and vibrant members of my graduating class.  As I got back into my car that day I thought to my self, this thing is winding down.
            As I drove home that day I thought about people I wanted to see, things I had not done, and places I would like to visit again.  My mood was a bit melancholic as I had nostalgic thoughts of the past.  Yet at the same time I started to experience an emotion that was a little more subtle, but no less real.  My thoughts of the past gave way to a future event, being ushered into the presence of Christ.  The desire to go to my heavenly home to be with Him started to well up within me and a peaceful anticipation pervaded my soul.
             For my age I am in relatively good health and there is no evidence for my eminent demise, but each day I sense a rising expectation of seeing Jesus face to face.  The best times for Christians are always in front of us. If we live our lives with our focus on Christ, with the highways to Zion in our hearts, when God calls us home we will be ready.  When life’s journey takes us across that great river, it will not be a termination but a consummation of all our spiritual yearnings.  It won’t be the end it will be the beginning.   We will be able to say as the Apostle Paul said, “to die is gain” (Philippines 1:21 NKJV).  And we will have lived well and died well.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing