2 Chronicles 24, Revelation 11, Zechariah 7, John 10

2 Chronicles 24 
Reading this chapter depresses me.  How could Joash begin so well to end in such infamy?  How could he so quickly forget Jehoiada, his protector, and mentor?  How could he have Zechariah stoned?  

Joash and Jehoiada's lives are summarized in 2 Chronicles 24:16 and 25.  Verse sixteen succinctly sums up Jehoiada as "They buried him in the city of David among the kings because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house."  While verse twenty-five concludes, Joash's life with "They buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings." 

May I be remembered as Jehoiada, as one who finished the race of life well.  A few years ago, I found a poem by Robertson McQuilken that says it better than I ever could.  This poem is my prayer. 

Let Me Get Home Before Dark

It’s sundown, Lord.
The shadows of my life stretch back
into the dimness of the years long spent.
I fear not death, for that grim foe betrays himself at last,
thrusting me forever into life:

Life with You, unsoiled and free.
But I do fear.
I fear the Dark Spectre may come too soon
– or do I mean, too late?
That I should end before I finish or
finish, but not well.
That I should stain Your honor, shame Your name,
grieve Your loving heart.
 
Few, they tell me, finish well . . .
Lord, let me get home before dark.

The darkness of a spirit
grown mean and small,
fruit shriveled on the vine,
bitter to the taste of my companions,
burden to be borne by those brave few
who love me still.
No, Lord.  Let the fruit grow lush and sweet,
A joy to all who taste;
Spirit-sign of God at work,
stronger, fuller, brighter at the end.
Lord, let me get home before dark.

The darkness of tattered gifts,
rust-locked, half-spent or ill-spent,
A life that once was used of God
now set aside.
Grief for glories gone or
Fretting for a task God never gave.
Mourning in the hollow chambers of memory.
Gazing on the faded banners of victories long gone.
Cannot I run well unto the end?
Lord, let me get home before dark.

The outer me decays –
I do not fret or ask reprieve.
The ebbing strength but weans me from mother earth
and grows me up for heaven.
I do not cling to shadows cast by immortality.
I do not patch the scaffold lent to build the real, eternal me.
I do not clutch about me my cocoon,
vainly struggling to hold hostage
a free spirit pressing to be born.

But will I reach the gate
in lingering pain, body distorted, grotesque?  Or will it be a mind
wandering untethered among light fantasies or grim terrors?

Of Your grace, Father, I humbly ask. . .
Let me get home before dark. 

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