Tested and Battered
All the days of my service I would wait.
A short stay on earth will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so enjoyable as work; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to danger. The bitter cups of earth will give a relish to the new wine that sparkles in the golden bowls of heaven. Our battered armor and scarred countenances will render more glorious our victory above, when we are welcomed to the seats of those who have overcome the world.
We would not have full fellowship with Christ if we did not sojourn for a while below, for He was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share His kingdom. Fellowship with Christ is so honorable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it.
Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we still have a part to play shining as light in the dark wilderness of sin.
Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God's glory. A tested saint, like a well-cut diamond, glitters much in the King's crown. Nothing reflects so much honor on a workman as a protracted and severe trial of his work and his triumphant endurance of the ordeal without giving in or giving up. We are God's workmanship, and He will be glorified by our afflictions. It is for the honor of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy. Let each man surrender his own longings to the glory of Jesus and declare: "If my lying in the dust would elevate my Lord by so much as an inch, let me still lie among the pots of earth. If to live on earth forever would make my Lord more glorious, it should be my heaven to be shut out of heaven."
Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it, but wait with patience until the gates of pearl shall open.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.