Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:8-23
...to be with Christ...is far better. Philippians 1:23
The Apostle Paul had caught a glimpse of the glory on the other side, and at times was literally homesick for heaven. He knew that his deepest afflictions were permitted by God, and even his imprisonment in Philippi was for the "furtherance of the gospel" (Phil. 1:12). He could sing with his feet in the stocks, and in the middle of the night. It is easy to sing and praise the Lord when all is bright and prosperous; but to be able to sing when all is dark and there seems no way out except "UP," is evidence of a truly victorious faith.
You do not find it hard to praise the Lord as you sit in your comfortable home, but suppose you were kneeling on a lonely spot on a hill in far-away China with an executioner's sword raised above your head; what would be your thoughts? This situation faced the Rev. and Mrs. R. W. Porteous in the spring of 1931. They were taken prisoners by Communist bandits in China. Led to a lonely spot on top of a hill, the officer said, "This is the place." The executioner took the knife from its holder, raised it above the necks of the courageous couple, and certain death seemed imminent. However, instead of cringing and begging for mercy, they began to sing. The executioner's knife did not fall. The officer stared open-mouthed as the missionary couple sang:
Face to face with Christ, my Saviour,
Face to face — what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.
These two saintly souls were ready for certain death, but to their surprise, no order was given. The executioner returned the sword to its sheath and Mr. and Mrs. Porteous were released. Subsequently, they were returned to their homeland in England, and there they told the story of the perfect peace which the Lord Jesus gives to His children in the face of certain death. (M.R.D.)
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!
— Mrs. F. Breck
"Grace comforts the soul, puts to flight the devil, and makes a Christian equal to any situation." — G.W.