".......Stay with us for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over. So he went in to stay with them" (Luke 24:29, again).
Sometimes, I ponder on this little word, "evening." As evening comes, God abides with us in the "evenings" of our lives.
For most of his adult life, Henry Lyte (1793 - 1847) pastored a poor church in a fishing village in Devonshire, England. Though discouraging, he kept at it. When he wrote the hymn, Abide With Me, he knew he was dying of tuberculosis and asthma. He felt very much alone.
Lyte was inspired by the words of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The two were met by Jesus on the day of his resurrection, and they invited him to stay with them because it was getting late. "Abide with us," they said, "for it is toward evening" (Luke 24:29, KJV).
Lyte, the aging pastor knew that he was getting "toward evening" in his life; but he determined that he would "wear out" rather than "rust out." Shortly after he wrote the hymn, Lyte preached his last sermon. He was so ill that he actually crawled to the pulpit.
The hymn concludes, "In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me."
Jesus is with us in all the seasons of our lives. But in the "evenings" of our lives, we need the presence of our Lord perhaps even more. As I write this devotion, I consider the different types of evenings I am facing.
For me, I am nearly entering the senior citizen category. I have begun to experience the "wear and tear" of my body(though, thankfully, my spirit continues to labour in love for the Lord).
In this season of my life, I need Jesus to abide with me in all the uncertainties that lie ahead. I also need Jesus to minister his grace and hope into the sadness in my life; for there is a loved one in my life who is not following Christ in his life.
I know a few people who are Covid-19 positive and they need Christ to abide with them in their "evenings" or darkness of their lives. They need all the strength and support to recover from the pain and scars of the illness.
Lillian (my wife) and I also fully understand how caregivers struggle in the never-ending "evening" situations of their lives as they handle their mentally ill children.
What are the types of "evenings" in your life?
The "evenings" of our lives mean different things to different people. For sure, evenings are not the dawn or peak experiences in life. It is the period when we are down in the dark valley of life.
And so, we invite Jesus to abide with us in the "evenings" of our lives.
Are you lonely, confused, hopeless, weak, anxious or desperate? Are we facing messy, painful, sad, sick, hungry, helpless, and dark situations situations?
Let us join Lyte in praying the first verse of Abide with Me:
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepen; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.