July 16, this year, I was suddenly afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis. My hands hurt and were swollen grotesquely. It was hard to walk. For a time I was disoriented and afraid my career and usefulness were over. It still hurts to walk, but the pain is tolerable. Thanks to a good Lord, good doctors and good medicine, I am again functioning normally.
Through the years the idea of heaven gets “sweeter as the years go by.” More loved ones are there. Aches and pains of this fleshly existence are intensified. The prayer, “Lord, come quickly,” becomes a genuine desire, tempered only, as with Paul (Phil. 1:21-26), by the realization there is work yet to be done and I might be able to accomplish some good for others.
I say that to give meaning to this: I get emotional when I read Revelation 21:4, “neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.” And when I sing, “And then one day I’ll cross the river; I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; and then as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!” And when I remember a prayer often repeated when I was young and a new Christian at Union Avenue Church in Memphis, “And, Lord, when our time comes to cross the chilly waters of death, give us a peaceful hour in which to cross, and a home safe on the other side.”
“No pain.” “Life’s final war with pain.” “A peaceful hour in which to cross.” Amen! Amen!
Cecil May Jr.