My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15)
What a powerful prayer Jesus sets before us this day! If Jesus is not praying that the Father would take us out of this world, that means we still have kingdom work to do. If our work was finished, we would be at home with our Lord. Because we are not yet home, we have unfinished business to complete for the glory of God and the good of others. Soon enough we will have finished the good fight of faith; but until we do, let us continue doing all God has called us to do with everything He has given us to do it with.
I’m sure that every servant of the Most High God has occasionally thought the same thoughts as the apostle Paul:
I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Philippians 1:23-24)
It would indeed be far better for us to be absent from our bodies and present with our Lord Jesus Christ, but that blessed existence will not be ours until we have finished the work He has set before us. God’s best for us is often not what we want, but rather what He wants for us. And because you are reading this right now, it is “more necessary” for you to remain where you are, to grow where you are planted, and to serve all those whom God places in your path. Remember, God doesn’t need you; He wants you . . . but everyone else needs you, whether they want you or not!
I recognize that we sometimes look forward to departing this life and being with our Lord simply because of the struggles and storms we face in this life. Our thoughts may sometimes yearn more for the absence of storms than for the presence of our Savior. But that is only because we are fallen, broken human beings who take our eyes off of Jesus, as Peter did when he stepped out of the boat and walked on water . . . until he took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking fearfully at the wind and the waves. To guard against this tendency that we all have, let us remember the prayer of our Lord and commit the life we have left on this earth to be used by God for anything He so desires to use us for, for as long as He sees fit.
We know we have unfinished business because we still have life. There may be some blinking beacons of unfinished business in your life right now that would benefit from your attention. Perhaps it is related to your education? Possibly it is in a relationship within your family? Maybe it is relating to your career or finances? Whatever it might be, go to work on it in the strength of the Lord and rest in the truth that God knows when it will be finished.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!