“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
I follow Amy Grant on Facebook and last week she shared some thoughts about Billy Graham and they really struck a note with me. She said that the last time she sang at one of his crusades was in 1997 and at that time she was facing difficult times in her marriage and wanted to speak with him privately before singing. She did and explained her challenges and he said to her “Amy, I have children and grandchildren who love the Lord and He loves them too…but some of them just take the ‘long way’ home.” They prayed together and Amy sang. She and Vince and their blended family met him a decade later and she said that Billy greeted them with that same love and kindness he did on that day before the San Antonio Crusade in 1997; the road had been longer but the love of God had never weakened or vacated her life.
That phrase ‘the long way home’ really caught my attention and just made me sit and stop, think and spend time in prayer and it is my hope that today, those words will bring a special meaning to your Monday. I am going to close today with the words from a hymn that seem appropriate for this day; “I’m but a stranger here”.
Billy is now home where he has longed to be.... reunited with his beloved Ruth and in the presence of the Loving God he proclaimed around the world. We are all heading home too... some of us just take the long way. I look forward to seeing Billy again on the other side.
“I'm but a stranger here, Heav'n is my home; earth is a desert dread, Heav'n is my home. Danger and sorrow stand round me on every hand; Heav'n is my fatherland, Heav'n is my home. What though the tempest rage, Heav'n is my home; short is my pilgrimage, Heav'n is my home; and time's wild wintry blast soon shall be overpast; I shall reach home at last, Heav'n is my home. There at my Savior's side, Heav'n is my home; I shall be glorified, Heav'n is my home; there are the good and blest, those I love most and best; and there I, too, shall rest, Heav'n is my home. Therefore I murmur not, Heav'n is my home; whate'er my earthly lot, Heav'n is my home; and I shall surely stand there at my Lord's right hand. Heav'n is my fatherland, Heav'n is my home.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay