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For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
- 2 Timothy 4:6-8  

Sitting on my desk at the office is a funeral program of a very significant person—my grandmother, or “Beppe” as we called her.  She passed away last year in June, and it’s mind-boggling to think that it was already 17 months ago that she entered into the Lord’s presence.     

I have the program standing up, erect on my desk, because on the front page of the program is an image of her smiling face, a mark of sacrifice and humility, which I see every time I sit down and begin my work.   

And I’ll admit, I don’t keep the program there because I miss her—although at times, that’s very much a realty.  I keep her image there because she was the greatest prayer warrior that I’d ever met and—for years—was the bedrock of faith in our family.   

And so it’s a memory, a remembrance, a reminder of her strength, her fortitude, her faithfulness, her perseverance, and—at times—her willingness to be poured out like a drink offering for the sakes of those who would follow in the faith after her.  

Today is Remembrance Day—a day when we remember all those who have fallen for the sake of our freedoms.  It is a day that calls to mind all those who sacrificed in order to bring an end to hostilities—those who ‘fought the fight’ for our nation.  My grandfather was one of them.  

But today, I’m also taking a moment to remember someone else who suffered and fought a fight for my sake.  Someone who came before me, who wielded the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith for many years.  Someone who fought the good fight, kept the faith, and endured fierce circumstances while still clinging to hope.  

She lived through a war, but she knew that her greatest victory was still to come.  I can imagine this passage in 2 Timothy going through her mind as she anticipated her approaching departure and crossing the finish line.   

And now, like a poppy fixed onto the lapel of my coat, her image on my desk is a memento of hope.  Just as we hope for a world beyond war and strife, so we hope for a world where many more can fight the good fight and join with the aching of Paul to long for our Lord’s appearing.  

So I encourage you today—not only to remember those who have fallen, but to remember those who have ‘fought the good fight’ of faith for your sake.  Consider someone who has blessed you with their perseverance and striving after that crown of righteousness.  And thank God for them.  

May we, too, fight the good fight—whatever the obstacles and the opposition.  May we, too, keep the faith and pass it on to those after us.   

And may we, too, long for His appearing.

Prayer: Father God, as we continue to sit in the uncertainties and ambiguities of this season, help us to remember You and the impact of Your sacrifice—which has led so many others to lay down their lives for the sake of the good.  Thank You for all those who have come before us, who have laid the foundations of faith on which we travel.  May we step forward in hope, knowing that You are walking this journey with us.  In Christ's Name, Amen.  

Song: This song became popular right around the time of my grandmother's passing, and I think of her every time I hear it; so I'd like to share it with you.  I imagine that these were her deepest longings: