Evening, March 22, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.” — John 17:24
O death! Why do you touch the tree whose spreading branches give us rest from weariness? Why do you snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom we all delight? If you must use your axe, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; you might be thanked then. But why will you fell the fair cedars of Lebanon? O stay your axe, and spare the righteous.
But no, it must not be; death smites the fairest of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus’ persuading prayer—”Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.” It is that prayer which bears them on eagle’s wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ’s prayer. A good old minister remarks, “Many times Jesus and his people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say ‘Father, I want your believers to be with me where I am;’ Christ says, ‘Father, I want that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am.'” Therefore, the disciple is at cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which petitioner shall win the day? If you had your choice — if the King should step from his throne, and say, “Here are two pleading and praying in opposition to one another, which shall be answered?” Oh! I am sure, though it would be agony, you would jump to your feet, and say, “Jesus, not my will, but yours be done.” You would give up your prayer for your loved one’s life, if you could comprehend the thought that Christ is praying in the opposite direction—”Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.” Lord, you shall have them. By faith we let them go.