My husband and I tuned in to watch portions of the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II this week, a woman who reigned as queen for 70 years and 214 days, the longest of any British monarch, the longest recorded verifiable female head of state in history, and she was served by more than 170 prime ministers. At one point I said to my husband, “Seventy years. Our presidents serve 4-8 years. Their length of service pales in comparison.” I also thought of some faithful friends of mine who have served the Lord faithfully in “anonymity” for forty years overseas and are still serving strong. The world may not know about them, but they are royalty. Scripture says this about all believers in Christ: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9) Besides being royalty, we have something else in common with Queen Elizabeth II.
As I passed through the living room throughout the day along the path between home office and kitchen, sometimes I sat for a few minutes but I always checked the television screen. Every single time there was a common thread. Throngs. Throngs of people lined the streets for each segment of the funeral schedule to pay their last respects to their queen. I was reminded that throngs surround us too, though nothing a camera can capture.
Throngs of Saints
Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The saints who have gone before us — whom we read about in Scripture — bear witness that our struggles and faith are not in vain. Eternal life is real. They are waiting for us and validating our eternal reality. Commentator Arthur Pink says the reminder of so great a cloud of witnesses is “mentioned as an incentive, to console and assure us we are not alone. As we look around at the empty profession on every side, and behold the looseness and laxity of so many who bear the name of Christ, Satan seeks to make us believe that we are wrong, too “strict,” and rebukes us for our “singularity.” No doubt he employed the same tactics with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses; but they heeded him not. Nor should we. We are not “singular”….Others before us have trod the same path, met with the same hindrances, fought the same fight. They persevered, conquered, and won the crown…”
Throngs of Spiritual Protection
2 Kings 6:15-16: When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
There are always more on our side than “theirs.” If only our eyes could see the horses and chariots constantly hemming in evil so we are not utterly consumed, or see the poised readiness of God to intervene in our circumstances right on cue in accordance with what is best for His story and ours. Such armies surround every Christ follower, providing constant supernatural protection and intervention in our lives.
God will attend our funeral.
I don’t know the circumstances or the timing of any death of a Christ follower yet to come — including mine — but I do know this: No matter the circumstances of our death — in sickness or health, whether a slow or quick, whether alone or in good company, at home or away, God will guide each of us home in grandeur.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15
Picture Explanation: As I reflected on the throngs at the queen’s funeral, I imagined these couples who have also served the nations for decades but without a crown on their heads. Rest assured, however, there are crowns in their future. What is most real is not what we can see.
Proverbs 27:24: For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.
James 1:12: Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
2 Timothy 4:8: …in the future there is laid up 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 loved His appearing.
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