I have been thinking of and praying for a neighbor of my childhood who is nearing the end of his earthly journey, surrounded by loving family and friends, soon to meet the Savior face to face to hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…” I didn’t know these neighbors all that well, they were a bit of a way from us, through one neighbor across a dangerous enough (in my mind) country highway. I knew this man as a burly strong guy with a wonderful smile, I can still see that smile. His daughter says he was a prayer warrior.
It dawns on me that life simply won’t continue on as it has without some change. I’m amazed at the strength and stamina I have. My wife has helped me eat healthy (mostly vegan, she’s basically 100% vegan). It is one thing to live longer, as Americans and much of the first world countries do, but it’s quite another thing to live at least most all of that time in good health. We would all like to live well right up to our final day, be taken home so to speak in our sleep.
I suppose I’ve prayed many prayers in my lifetime which are similar, but perhaps far and away the one prayer I’ve said the most to God, even often at the start of a new day, and even more so, at the end especially of a work day is something like, “Lord, I’m so tired.” God gives us strength to carry on. I have to get outside in a short time to shovel several inches of heavy (if cleaning my car yesterday is indicative) snow, a significant amount, perhaps up to an hour’s worth, more or less. And then off to work, where yesterday just to keep on top of a job that was unsteady I had to be aggressive and quick as a cat (ha) to keep the job going okay and do what had to be done. Today to finish that job.
In the midst of all of this, though we are dust, and to dust we will return, the Lord gives us strength to carry on. As I get older, I wonder more and more where that strength will come from. And needed wisdom too, for that matter. I know where that comes from, but I speak existentially, from the perspective of simply being tired: physically tired, and tired in other ways as well.
My former neighbor, Mr. Hilty has amazingly reached the end of the wonderful strength he had, a truly loving man as I’m reading and remembering. Like him, unless the Lord returns before that, I will return to dust (What about cremation? That’s another subject on the fringes of my mind off and on, lately.) I hope with him to hear the words from our Savior, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I am so utterly undeserving, but by his grace he forgives and gives us a new heart, even in beginning to be like his own heart. And so I have a bit of hope, that direction.
Until then, I carry on with the strength God gives. Acknowledging my own weakness and sin, and knowing that when the strength God gives me is withdrawn, I will be taken up into his arms so to speak, wonderful when some sense of that is experienced in this life. And with Mr. Hilty, we will be in fellowship together before the Lord forever, never again to pray anything like the prayer, “Lord, I’m so tired.”