Why am I Spared?
The habit of keeping a diary was once more common than it is today. In Christian circles, the diary of Andrew Bonar (a Presbyterian minister in Scotland in the nineteenth century) has been greatly used of God. It is very profitable to read over the account that he kept of his life and ministry. It is a book that every Christian should read, especially those who are full time in the Lord’s service. As the Banner of Truth states on the dust cover of their 1984 edition, “His diary and life is one of the great treasures left to the Church from the nineteenth century, and deserves to be widely and eagerly read.” On 29th April 1848, Andrew Bonar made this entry, “Spared to see my thirty-eighth year, while others are taken.” The reason he wrote those words was because so many of his friends and family had been taken away in death while they were young. Three of his siblings died in infancy; his father died when Andrew was just eleven years old; his own son, also called Andrew, died as a young child; his dear wife Isabella passed away in middle age; and his very good friend Robert Murray McCheyne died before he reached his thirtieth birthday, a fact that Bonar reflected upon regularly for many subsequent years.
As Bonar thought of the lives of others coming to an end so swiftly, he pondered carefully and seriously the question, “Why am I spared? What is the reason that I am not taken away?” His diary reveals that he meditated upon that question on more than one occasion.
It is a question that I have been caused to consider earnestly myself in recent days, and you would be wise to consider it also. Ask yourself just now, ‘Why am I spared, and others taken?” Why has God allowed you to live so long – when he has taken away some of your friends and loved ones in the prime of life?
If you are a believer, then there is only one answer to that question. The Lord has kept you alive (Joshua 14:10), not so that you can make more money or make a name for yourself but because your work for Him is not yet finished. There is still a work for you to do for Christ.
The first time D. L. Moody met R. A. Torrey, he said to him, “Young man, you had better get to work for the Lord.” That is still the Lord’s message for you today. He would say, “Go work today in my vineyard”. (Matthew 21:28). Get busy for the Lord while you still have the opportunity.
Rev David McMillan
(Minister of Armagh Free Presbyterian Church.)