“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou
shouldest keep them from the evil.” John 17:15
Suggested Further Reading: Philippians 1:19-26
We never have any encouragement to ask God to let us die. Christians are
always wanting to die when they have any trouble or trial. You ask them why?
“Because we would be with the Lord.” O yes, they want to be with the Lord,
when troubles and temptations come upon them. But it is not because they are
yearning to be with the Lord, it is because they desire to get rid of their
troubles. They want to get home, not so much for the Saviour’s company, as to
get out of the little hard work. They did not wish to go away when they were
in quiet and prosperity. Like lazy fellows, as most of us are, when we get
into a little labour we beg to go home. It is quite right sometimes that you
should desire to depart, because you would not prove yourself to be a true
Israelite if you did not want to go to Jerusalem. You may pray to be taken
home out of the world, but Christ will not take up the petition. When your
prayers come to the Lord, this little one may try to get amongst them, but
Christ will say, “I do not know anything about you, ‘I pray not that thou
shouldest take them out of the world.’” You may wish it sincerely, and really
desire it, but you will not at present get your Master to pray with you.
Instead, then, of crying, or wishing to be away from the battle, brace
yourself up in the name of the Lord. Every wish to escape the fight is but a
desertion of your Master.
For meditation: Elijah prayed it while he was afraid for his life (1 Kings
19:3,4)! But God had a different departure planned for him (2 Kings 2:11).
Jonah prayed it twice when he was angry (Jonah 4:3,9) soon after begging God
to deliver him from drowning (Jonah 2:2,7). What a good thing God rejects our
foolish requests when we or they are outside his will. Paul had the mind of
Christ on this matter.
Sermon no. 47 / 21 October (1855) – C.H. Spurgeon
– Bible Gateway.Com