Last evening after church, Denise and I drove home through the country. That is our favorite route . . . through the country. As we drove out of Jonesborough with our windows down and the sunroof opened, we were captured by the gorgeous sunset. The view was spectacular! The quiet drive and surrounding rolling hills were calming. How appropriate for the evening.
You see, Denise and I were on our way home after the evening service and a visit in the hospital with a man very dear to us and the ministry of our church. How it hurts my heart to see him currently unable to get out of bed and walk. How difficult this is for a man in the twilight of his years. How difficult for us as well. He has walked many-a-mile in his lifetime. He has walked his farmland, over the roads through Johnson City and Boones Creek, through the country, many times from his car to Neyland Stadium and back, into the foyer at church and down the aisle looking for that visitor or church member that he could share a smile and a warm welcome, and through the door of his home with many, many guests following him to eat at his dinner table. He has walked through many storms of life, heartaches, church trials, and political disappointments. He has always been by my side as a mentor, supporter, and encourager in the ministry whether he agreed with me or not. Over the years, I have never wondered if he would forsake me or turn on me. He has been a faithful friend through it all.
How often my wife and I have driven through the country with Rod and Hope. He is an open history book of the lands around us. I have learned much from him. As the years begin to wind down and the sun begins to set, his future is as bright as the sunset last night because he, like us, is headed to a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews11:10). This will be a ride, not through, but to a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:16). Until that day, we will keep taking those drives through the country knowing “I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.”