Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
By: John Newton, 1725-1807
Now there is a word I have not used lately. How about you? Unless you were in a formal business meeting and the moderator called for the question to be answered yea or nay, I think the chances are pretty slim. Let me be clear that this is simply an affirmative answer, but it sets up the powerful declaration which follows, while at the same time affirming the truths that have already been sung.
The last stanza we considered made very clear we have hope that God is with us and for us throughout this life. That is a needful and powerful thing, but it is not all that we have. Herein is evidenced one of the most beautiful things about many of the great hymns, in my humble opinion, a declaration of the hope of life beyond this.
A few stanzas ago as we tuned to the idea of God as our portion, we examined one of the verses that specifically speaks of this truth. We come back to that verse now and acknowledge what seems to be one of the hymn writers favorite verses, since it offers not only an allusion to this Scripture but almost a word-for word transcription.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 NIV
What this verse reminds us of is that not only is God our portion “as long as life endures”, He is actually our portion FOREVER. It makes even more sense that the stanza would start with a strong “YES” affirming God has been our portion as it prepares to put forth the truth that He also will be.
We will think a little more about the veil in the next piece, but let’s just a take a moment and consider what the FOREVER portion looks like. Three things stand out, with the first one being a little less obvious than the latter two.
- Even when this mortal life comes to an end, another life will still be mine. For those who might be tempted to fear death, this statement comes as a great comfort. I will die, but even when I do, I will live, and truthfully I will be more fully alive that ever.
- My life beyond this life will be marked by joy. Joy can be defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness, or the prospect of possessing what one desires, but that seems to fall way short of what we will actually possess, because our feeling will not be connected to a prospect, but to ac actual, eternal possession. Joy will be ours.
- My life beyond this life will also be marked with peace. Peace is often defined as the freedom from disturbance, or a state of quiet and tranquility, but again I think our concepts fall short of what will actually be ours. I have heard it said, “Peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace is the presence of God.” That is a better description of the peace we will know.
Let’s apply these things. To tune today, simply take a few moments and thank God for all that will be yours when this life ends. Then ask Him for the grace to live today like someone who believes there are far better days coming. That way, even when the threat of flesh and/or heart failure, you will still be able to say, so be it, “Amen!”, because you know that when this life ends, an even better life begins.
When you are tempted to feel a little glum today because life is not going the way you want, say “Yea!”, it’s going to get better, way better. And all because of grace.
Jesus, thank You for the reminder today, that even when my heart and my flesh fail, when this mortal life ends, You have a eternally better life in store for me. Help me to live out that hope today because someone may need to see it! In Jesus name. Amen.
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