And Miles To Go Before I Sleep
By George Stroh
April 12, 2021
Therefore, being of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--- for we walk by faith, not by sight --- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
In his1923 poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", Robert Frost wrote:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
One interpretation of Frost's poem is to imagine death, like sleep, as being lovely and inviting as a moon lit, snowy evening in the quiet, dark and deep woods. Yet, he realizes that in this life there are still unfulfilled promises to keep, unfinished work to do in the remaining days of his life.
The Apostle Paul knew that his physical death would mean that he would immediately be at home with the Lord and that would be "very much better" than this present life; For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better. (Philippians 1:21-23)
Like Paul, we wait expectedly and look forward to the rapture of the Church or, if He tarries, physical death, desiring to be home with Christ. But also like Paul, our remaining days on earth, however many miles we have to go before we sleep, must be devoted to serving Christ, engaged in fruitful labor.