So, the joke fell flat Sunday night about being a Packer fan and holding up one of J.I. Packer's books, but it's true. I am a Packer fan. Knowing God is one of the better books I've ever read.
And I'm reading another one of his, entitled Growing in Christ. I came across this paragraph today as I was reading about how we face death, and how the Christian ought not to fear death:
John Preston, the Puritan, knew this. When he lay dying, they asked him if he feared death, now it was so close. “No,” whispered Preston; “I shall change my place, but I shall not change my company.”
I'm challenged by this. I see, looking back, that the times I am most fearless at exploring new places and things are when I am with people I know and love. If you give Ann and I the opportunity, we'll go anywhere and try nearly anything (except probably bungee jumping.)
Because the setting isn't important to me. The company is. We have lived in big cities, suburbs, and now a really small town. Home is where we are if we are there together.
Yet I look at Preston's statement and am convicted. Am I walking faithfully enough with Christ that I will not fear death, not because I know it will be alright or because I have the images of streets of gold and glassy seas and pearly gates, but because whatever is there doesn't matter. Who is there matters. That I will not change my company when I change locations.
That I will stay in the presence of Jesus will be enough.
This challenges me to live in His presence enough now that it's not terrifying then. And that's going to take some serious contemplation and growth.
J. I. Packer, Growing in Christ (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1996), 54-56.
|Growing in Christ