But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
Last week another dear friend/brother/mentor went home to be with Jesus. He finished his race with joy.
I first met Dr. Robertson McQuilkin when I served on the staff at Sandy Cove. My friend, Dr. B was instrumental in getting him to speak. His messages 25+ years ago had a huge impact on my life and ministry.
Little did I know that when I would come to serve at America’s Keswick, that our paths would cross again, and at a whole new level.
Dr. Robert C. McQuilkin, former President of Columbia Bible College, now Columbia International University, was a key player in our Keswick history. We was a very popular speaker at summer conferences.
Dr. Robertson McQuilkin, who served as President of CIU, resigned at the height of his career to become the full-time care-giver for his precious wife, Muriel, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. His powerful resignation speech has been heard by tens of thousands of people around the world. While McQuilkin cared for his wife for the next 12 years, he continued writing journal articles and books and preaching worldwide. Among the most popular of 19 books written by McQuilkin is “A Promise Kept” detailing his care for Muriel, who passed away in 2003.
Years ago, Dr. McQuilkin penned the words to this prayer that I have read hundreds of times, LORD GET BE 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 the dark scepter may come to soon – or too late? I fear that before I finish I might stain Your honor, shame Your name, grieve Your loving heart. Few, they tell me, finish well. Lord, let me get home before dark.
Will my life show the darkness of a spirit grown mean and small, fruit shriveled on the vine, bitter to the taste of my companions, a 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, a Spirit-sign of God at work, stronger, fuller. Brighter at the end. Lord, let me get home before dark.
Will be 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 mortality. 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, gro-tesque? Or will it be a mind wandering untethered among the light phantasies or grim terrors? Of Your grace, Father, I humbly ask … let me get home before dark.
I will be eternally grateful for the privilege of having several lengthy one-on-one chats in my office with this gentle giant. He was a dear friend and brother and I will miss him.
And God answered his prayer – He got home before dark.
Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
Daily Quote: “I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of old age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever. And so we’ll be eager to leave the temporary deteriorating part of us and be truly homesick for our eternal home. If we stayed young and strong and beautiful we might never want to leave.” ― J. Robertson McQuilkin
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young. ~Isaiah 40:11