The meditative special music was over and the organ had started up the “time-for-lunch” tune. I had turned to talk to my friends next to me about an afternoon hike when the elderly lady on my other side reached out to greet us. I did not know her, but had enjoyed her presence through the service, and especially her sweet, elderly high-pitched voice in the Easter hymns. We responded with smiles, and she then she said something that touched my heart deeply:
“Stay faithful, young people! Jesus is coming!”
I suppose that could come with a finger-wagging, condemning tone, but it didn’t. It came with a strong, loving hand grasping mine. With a genuine smile. With a big, grandmotherly hug that almost had me in tears and I didn’t quite know why.
Over lunch, I pondered why it meant so much to me. Maybe because sometimes life is hard, and I want to give up. I truly do want to stay faithful, but I need that encouragement.
Maybe it was because I’m pretty sure that by her age, this lady has seen plenty of her own struggles, and though I don’t know her, it seems pretty obvious that she has stayed faithful. She is fully qualified to encourage us “young people” to do the same.
Maybe it was also the hope in that reminder—Jesus is coming! As Paul puts it, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Cor. 4:17, NLT) True, they don’t always feel small, but in light of how God is using all of it to prepare us for an amazing eternity with Him, they pretty much are.
So basically, this is why we stick it out, wherever we are, whatever we’re called to do. We hang in there because Jesus puts a longing in us to stay faithful, and then He gives us the strength to do it. And because it’s more than about us and our comfort in this world. It’s about another world, a future beyond our imagination—a future Jesus has promised, and has given us the opportunity to share with others.
To all of us, but especially to those who might be a little tired of this world, I want to pass on the words of my elderly angel: “Stay faithful! Jesus is coming!”
*About every other week, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and sent on May 14, 2015.