Posted by: rcottrill | February 22, 2016

In a Little While We’re Going Home

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Words: Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (b. June 28, 1851; d. Apr. 24, 1920)
Music: Eliza Edmunds Hewitt

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Eliza Hewitt)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The message we will carry away from this rather repetitive little song, written in 1899, is that Christ is coming soon to take us to our heavenly home. A good thing to keep in mind!

Children sometimes remind us of how distressingly long “a little while” can be. When the family’s in the car, and heading for the zoo, or to camp, or maybe to Grandma’s house, the question will come from the back seat, “Are we there yet?” Or, “When will we be there?”

Even though we understand the impatience of childhood–having been children ourselves, long ago–it can still be frustrating. We know that some things can’t be hurried. Even taking the shortest route to our destination may involve some twists and turns, some hills and valleys, some stops and starts. Perhaps even a bathroom break, or lunch on the way.

Nor do we automatically become perfectly patient with the passing years. Adults can be impatient too. (Sometimes we simply hide it better!) Impatience, says the dictionary, is: an eager and restless desire for change, or the reaching of a goal; an intolerance of anything that hinders progress or causes a delay. The Bible refers to having patience about three dozen times, but the concept is found many more times with God’s call to “wait,” and “rest,” and the exhortation to develop longsuffering.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him, says David (Ps. 37:7). We are to be “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). It’s the challenges and obstacles of life that the Lord can use to nurture patience, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (Jas. 1:3). The Word of God reminds us that the development of patience (“longsuffering”) is part of the “fruit” of the the Spirit of God’s work in the heart of the believer (Gal. 5:22-23).

Patience has a particular application to Christian service. Because of our own weakness and waywardness, and that of the people to whom we minister, progress is sometimes slow and painful. There are discouragements along the way. But we are to continue “being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering [endurance] with joy” (Col. 1:10-11).

When He was on earth, the Lord Jesus promised He would return and gather the faithful to Himself and take us to our heavenly home (Jn. 14:2-3). There is a word associated with the second coming several times. Three times, in the last chapter of the Bible, Christ declares that He is coming “quickly” (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20). Yet it is nearly two thousand years since He spoke those words to John.

Certainly, from God’s standpoint, Christ’s soon return means something different from what it does to us. He does not count time as we do. “Do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8). Taking that literally–though not likely the intention–Christ’s first coming took place only a couple of days ago.

From our perspective, the word “quickly” in Revelation means we can expect the Lord’s return at any time. The early Christians looked for Christ’s coming in their own lifetime, and so should we. His return is imminent. It could happen today. Meanwhile, we ought to keep busy for the Lord. “Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (Jas. 5:9). Let’s be working for the Master and living lives pleasing to Him.

Eliza Hewitt wrote a sprightly song about the soon return of Christ, and about our responsibility in the meantime. It says:

CH-1) Let us sing a song that will cheer us by the way,
In a little while we’re going home;
For the night will end in the everlasting day,
In a little while we’re going home.

In a little while, in a little while,
We shall cross the billow’s foam;
We shall meet at last,
When the stormy winds are past,
In a little while we’re going home.

CH-2) We will do the work that our hands may find to do,
In a little while we’re going home;
And the grace of God will our daily strength renew,
In a little while we’re going home.

CH-4) There’s a rest beyond, there’s relief from every care,
In a little while we’re going home;
And no tears shall fall in that city bright and fair,
In a little while we’re going home.

Questions:
1) In what areas of your life do you tend to deal most often with impatience?

2) What is the Lord doing to help you to gain more patience?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Eliza Hewitt)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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