The following article was written by Jason Dickey of Tampa, FL.
If for the prize we have striven,
After our labors are o’er,
Rest to our souls will be given,
On the eternal shore.
Home of the soul, beautiful home,
There we shall rest, never to roam;
Free from all care, happy and bright,
Jesus is there, He is the light!
Oft, in the storm, lonely are we,
Sighing for home, longing for Thee,
Beautiful home of the ransomed,
Beside the crystal sea.
Sometimes poetry and song can express an emotion that is otherwise easier felt than thought. The words above penned by James Rowe are just such an expression. We are Christians. The beleaguered and ignoble few that have chosen to align ourselves to the God above at the very cost of money, power, friendships, and especially our own satisfaction. Don’t misunderstand, we may still have money or a modicum of power; our lives may be satisfying, but we have laid aside those goals for the goal of reconciliation to the God above.
The reason why the above words are so apropos as we consider our current station and the goal for which we strive is because they convey the lonely depravity that exists in the present, they show the toil and sweat and burden we face each day as we strive to overcome the daily temptation that besets us. Yes we are the ignoble few that have chosen a life of struggle. Struggle against country, struggle against society, struggle against even family, and mostly struggle against sin. The way to overcome this struggle is through setting before our eyes the very goal for which we strive: “..the beautiful home of the ransomed beside the crystal sea.”
We can’t afford to misunderstand though the lyric that is set before us. We are not striving for some ethereal plane devoid of reality and God’s creation; a “soul” that is separated from all things created. We strive for a resurrected creation (Isaiah 65:17). A new heaven and new earth. A renewed earth (Romas 8:18-25). This is hard language worthy of our consideration. Amongst this consideration is that the resurrection of the dead infuses our lives back again with meaning. What we do here matters.
Some argue that death, the great equalizer, demands that we “live life to the fullest”, that we do what makes us happy before we die. The truth of God is that death can be overcome. That we can live again. That we can rise just as Jesus, the firstfruits of our resurrection, did (1 Corinthians 15:20).
We may be tempted each day to make ourselves happy. To do what we want to do. The goal for which we strive demands a different mindset, a different approach. This is a goal whose standard is self-sacrifice and love. The nature of the goal defines the nature of our journey. If we truly set before us a goal of reunification with the Lord God above, then we need to now live as reunified to God. He loved, so we love. He gave, so we give. We are selfless because our savior was selfless. In this gift we give, and in our giving we can receive. We receive a home for our soul.
Yes we strive for a home of our soul. A place where our heart, mind, and body are all reunited into perfect harmony with the Lord God above. Oft times as we trudge through the stormy winds and rain of life we feel isolated in the darkness of corruption that surrounds us. But we strive for a goal that relieves us not only of this journey, but also the loneliness and pain that this struggle cloaks us with. Set a goal. Set the goal. Live for the opportunity of life.