FINAL REST AND BEATIFIC PRESENCE

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn't see who he was. He called out, "Children, have you caught any fish?" "No," they replied. John 21:4-5

Weary and burdened with new apprehensions and desponding thoughts were these pilgrims of Galilee. Even Peter, despite of former protestations, now chafing under deferred and disappointed hope, seems to say, "I can wait on no longer; I shall resume the old daily occupation I had readily surrendered for a nobler, diviner mission. I am going fishing." And the others followed suit. It was a night of unremunerated toil. When their boat was drawing near to the western shore, a Figure stood out in the tender mystery of the dawn--the dim morning light that was breaking over the hills of Naphtali. At first the jaded toilers knew Him not. The very tones of His voice seemed unfamiliar, even though the well-known greeting, "Children," reached their ears. But the Bidder of welcome was in due time recognized. The word passed from lip to lip, "It is the Lord!" A meal was ready spread on the shore; while a miraculous draught corroborated their surmises, and crowned the unrecompensed labor of "a night on the deep." The net was dragged ashore with its encumbering load, and the Lord of love was once more surrounded with loving hearts. It was parable and miracle in one.

After our night, too, on the world's sea of trial, life's varied and chequered appointments, there is to be a blessed day-dawn for all those that "love His appearing." In the morning of immortality, Jesus will meet us on the heavenly, as He did His disciples on the earthly shore, with the same gracious welcome. The prize which strewed the margin of the Lake of Galilee will have its emblematic counterpart in the recompense for faithful, though in the case of some it may be fruitless, labor. As with the miraculous draught, then at least nothing will be lost, nothing lacking in the final gathering--no baffled hopes, or frustrated toil, or impeded work. "And for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken."

In His own beatific Presence, too, the feast will be spread. That Presence and Love will consecrate and glorify the banquet--this not for a fleeting hour, but for eternity. Paul, in his great eighth chapter of Romans, ascends to the highest Hospice built on this side of heaven; and reaching these serene heights, where the toiling pilgrim breathes the air of the everlasting hills, he exclaims--"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" In that "morning without clouds" will the challenge attain its highest meaning and significance.

Lord Jesus, Giver of Rest and Peace, let me hear Your voice even now on the celestial shore, saying, "Come unto Me, you weary ones, and I will refresh you." Let me see in their spiritual symbolism (it may be yet dimly discernible) the lighted coal-fire, the fish laid thereon, and bread. Let the thought of that glad morning reconcile to all present experiences--storms, and buffetings, and night-watchings. Let the restful lullaby close alike this meditation and our volumeľ "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

"What time I am awake I am still with You."

"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12

"The night is over, the sleep is slept,
They are called from the shadowy place;
The Pilgrims stand in the glorious land,
And gaze on the Master's face."

Blessed be the Lord, that has given REST unto His people, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised. (1 Kings 8:56.)




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