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Seeds of the Kingdom

Hope and Strength for the Journey

by Dean Gardner

6 February 2016

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Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Psalm 73:23, ESV

In the United Kingdom, where I live with my wife Gemma, it’s not uncommon to hear of people falling ill with flu-type viruses as Christmas draws near. This Christmas just passed, I succumbed to such a virus three days before Christmas Day.

By Boxing Day my illness seemed to be retreating and I was grateful to begin to feel stronger, as we had booked a week’s holiday from New Year’s Day, over 250 miles from our home, in the east of England, where my parents live. When I awoke on New Year’s morning however, my body was feeling the symptoms of a very bad cold, and, despite standing in prayer against the sickness, I felt progressively more and more ill, as I packed our car ready to leave for our holiday.

Determined not to give into illness my wife and I prayed that the Lord would help me to drive safely and get to the hotel where we had booked to stay that night and break our journey. By the time we reached that stopping place I felt physically awful and hoped and prayed that I would feel better the following morning after some overnight rest.

When I awoke in the morning though, I felt no better. After completing over half our journey, there wasn’t really any option of turning back, so we prayed again that the Lord would help me to drive safely and reach our destination. He answered our prayer, and, late in the afternoon, we finally reached the cottage where we were to spend the next week.

Later that evening, as my wife and I prayed together, I thanked the Lord for his mercy in helping us on our journey. I thanked Him that, although the journey had been so difficult, it was worth it to be in the beautiful place where we were now staying, with views across open fields and the wide horizon of eastern England. As we prayed, I thought it was like a picture of how it will be for us, when we finally reach heaven’s shores, at the end of our earthly lives.

Our journey may be hard at times. There may be times when we feel we can’t go on. Yet Jesus helps us right to the end. In far greater measure than I experienced on arriving at our holiday cottage, that final journey, with all its struggles, will be worth it, as we gaze at heaven’s beauty. It will be worth it when, above all, we finally see the face of our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Perhaps your journey seems hard to you at the moment. If so, I pray you will really know the hope of heaven and the presence of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, to strengthen and sustain you.

‘All the way my Saviour leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way’.

(Fanny J. Crosby)

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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