"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Every time that I read these verses I cant help but to feel my heart skip a beat. I feel excitement at the thought of what is to come. Do I feel fear? Yes, sometimes I am scared of the suffering and persecution that will come, but more than anything I feel hope and a purpose. I feel comfort that I am not alone, that He walks with me everywhere I go, and has claimed my soul as His.
When Paul wrote these verses, he was in prison facing execution. He had been in prison before, but he knew that he wasn't getting out of this one. This was the end of his earthly life, and for someone writing his last words, I don't sense fear or dread from him. I see someone who was fully immersed in God's purpose for him. He didn't regret putting his faith in Jesus on the Damascus Road, and he certainly didn't hesitate to state the truth now, even though it was his bold proclamation of faith in Jesus that led him to this place. He showed confidence that he had done what he was called to do and excitement that he would soon be with Jesus.
Do you feel that sort of excitement when you think or talk about Jesus? Do you yearn to be in His presence and know the peace that passes all understanding?
I missed out on this for so long, when I was living for the moment and with no hope for tomorrow. But when He took my hand and drew me to Himself, I knew I would never be the same. Once you experience His true presence, there is no going back. There is only praise and love. Does that mean I am perfect, no of course not. Does that mean that when bad things happen I don't freak out? Not at all, I freak out every single time something goes haywire. But I know that it is only my human nature reacting to worldly fears and temporary hurt. And though I start out worried and anxious, Jesus soon reminds me that I shouldn't be surprised. His Word promises that bad things will happen, but He also promises that any suffering that I endure here is only temporary. My eternity is written in a book that signifies life, and the ink is the very blood that He poured out on the cross for me. So while I might have hardship here, my hope and joy will continue to stand in the One who defeated death, and one day He will welcome me into His Kingdom, place a crown of righteousness on my head, and there will be celebration that I am finally home.
Do you want to know this kind of joy? Do you want to know how to live a life filled with trials and tribulations and yet walk with your head held high and your eyes focused on your Savior? Jesus is the way. There will never be another option. He offers peace, hope and joy to those that put their faith in Him. All we must do is say yes. Yes to knowing that He is God's Son, believing that He died to save us and was raised again, and yes to putting our trust in him going forward. Say yes to Him today!