Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

When Last Seen…

   I like weddings, inaugurations, graduations, New Year’s Days, births and baptisms. What do these all have in common? They speak of beginnings, don’t they? They are filled with hope, excitement, dreams, good intentions, promises and the like. Our spirits are renewed and lifted by such beginnings. The optimism that often accompanies these kind of events fills us with a breath of fresh air. They cause us to think well and responsibly about the future. They invigorate us. They help those of us who made our own pledges years ago to redouble our efforts.

   But as much as I am blessed by a new beginning, I’m finding that I am even more encouraged by a good finish. I love starters, but I stand in admiration of those who finish well.  Starters mean well, but finishers have lived well. Starters intend to live by their vows and pay the costs of any honorable commitment, but finishers have lived by their vows over the long haul and have paid the costs involved, even the  unseen and unexpected and very costly costs. And this not only honors the people for whom they have such committed love, it also honors the God they serve.

   In a beginning, even the most thoughtful among us are unable to fully comprehend the responsibilities attached to the commitment we are making. But in a good finish all those responsibilities have been embraced and carried out, if not without flaw, at least without quitting. I still love the honor that was paid to  mountains climbers who lost their lives in an attempt to climb Mt. Everest years ago. It was said of them that when they were last seen they were climbing higher. To me there is something heroic in a marriage that remains strong after years of facing challenges together…challenges from which the uncommitted run away. I am inspired by the woman who stays at her post of duty in spite of weariness or fear or, even, illness. And I just love the old-timer who with a twinkle in his eye lets you know that even through the struggles of older age, life is worth taking on with a sense of wonder and optimism that won’t let go.  But of all the illustrations of this, the one that inspires me most is the elderly Christian whose love for Jesus is stronger than ever, whose hope shines brighter than before and whose determination to honor Christ is undeterred by the ravages of time. When Moses was last seen, he was climber higher into the very presence and joys of his God. When the Apostle Paul was last seen, as recorded in the last letter we have of his, listen to what he had to say, “For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).” This confidence is not only for the faithful aged, but for the faithful of all ages. When the repentant, dying thief, who hung on a cross next to Jesus, was last seen, guess what? He was climbing higher, even unto Paradise with his Lord. When faithful Stephen was last seen under a barrage of stones because of his faithful testimony to Christ, he was  climbing higher. This is the kind of climbing we never get too old to do.  What will be our condition when our beloved behold us for the last time on earth? May we all honor Jesus Christ forever.






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2 thoughts on “When Last Seen…

  1. Gail on said:

    Thanks again Doug for this beautiful thought of Growing old and Holding on to Our God.

    You know there is the saying “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. Most of us do have struggles and hard things to go thru in life. And there are good times also. Memories keep us thankful in the sober moments of life. They can
    make us smile and even laugh.

    But I do have to say that as I grow old and lose loved ones from
    our family it makes me want to hold on to my God even more and
    keep trusting what he has told us. He is preparing a mansion for us on the hilltop
    in Heaven. I am understanding with the losses of family and friends we have known on this earth
    that what God has said in the Bible about death is so true.
    It does come. I get that so much more now. It makes us very sad and separates us from them for a time now. Life without them is hard. Tears are shed. We wish we could just see them one more time. But I am holding onto what
    God has been telling us about “He will never leave us or forsake” even when we
    go thru death. I am waiting for his return, and I hope I can keep on keeping on being faithful to Him and have a heart that was like King David’s was “A man after God’s own heart”.

    I can’t wait for the rejoicing in a beautiful place God has prepared for His Children.
    I can’t wait to see all the ones who have gone on before us and especially the family that I loved that has gone on. And it says we will be known as we was known.
    I hope pray I will see them again and be with them in this Mansion on a Hilltop
    God is preparing for us now. Thankful for my Great God. And I am going to
    keep on trying to Love God with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself.

    And I won’t do this perfectly like God and others I have known do but I will Try,
    Try and Try. I won’t give up.


  2. Anonymous on said:

    Doug & Gail,
    It is good to know your Dad was one of those who was a finisher, whose love, hope, and determination in Christ was evident to you in his last days here. Just know that we are thinking of you in your loss, and his gain. Our love & prayers – Ralph & Janet

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