Despite The Uphill Road Choose Joy - The Legacy of Geoff Richards



Tuesday, September 10 2019

 

Does the road wind uphill all the way?


Yes, to the very end.


Will the day's journey take the whole long day?


From morn to night, my friend.

 

These hard words penned by Christina Rossetti began Geoff Richards’ June 2012 Pilgrim Notes E-mail entitled “The Uphill Road”.

 

And then Geoff himself wrote: “I trust this finds you well and pressing on to the Proverbs 4:18 Light ahead! 55 years ago marked the beginning of my eternal Journey with Christ, while today in 1968 was the start of a joyful 38-year walk with Jeanne that began in India. The road with Him certainly does wind uphill and the Summit sometimes seems a long way off, but the joy along the Way helps level the path.”

 

 

Despite his serious cancer diagnosis from the year before, he wrote about still continuing “on the King’s Highway” – being “well-occupied with Kingdom business” – “sharing Jesus and His joy” – with “multiplied opportunities to speak Life in Jesus’ Name to many… my all-time favourite occupation”.

 

“There is nothing ordinary about Life in Christ Jesus! The uphill road has its struggles, but it is alive with the excellent company of myriad joyful pilgrims committed to one vision: to keep going still higher for His Highest – right up to the open door of a welcoming Heaven (Hebrews 12:22-24).”

 

In fact, as the years passed he expressed ever more and more gratitude and joy for his “Companions of the Way” and “the Jesus-company that turns weights into wings” – writing: “I am a rich man in my faithful friends” and “God’s Family becomes ever more dear as we ripen slowly together in God’s Son-shine.”

 

Interestingly, what often spoke the deepest to me in his writings were his closing words: always so profound, so precise, so filled with joy, so filled with reverence and honour for his Lord…

 

“God bless you all as you press on in Christ Jesus…”

 

“So gratefully His…”

 

“Joyfully on the journey with you in Him…”

 

“With a joyful song at the work of His hands…”

 

“In His, the best of bonds…”

 

Geoff wrote that “there is nothing ordinary about Life in Christ Jesus” – and there was certainly “nothing ordinary” about his life in Christ Jesus: everyday he chose Life and blessing – everyday he chose Light and joy – everyday he chose to have a grateful and thankful heart – in the so-well-known and so-well-loved words of Oswald Chambers, everyday Geoff chose “My Utmost for His Highest”.

 

His road wound uphill all the way. He knew all too well that “there is no crown without a cross”. But each day he pressed on towards the Light and the Summit ahead. And now Geoff, who picked up his cross and carried it from start to finish, can declare the same words that the apostle Paul wrote to his beloved disciple Timothy some 2000 years ago: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day…” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

 

What a legacy Geoff Richards left behind! A testimony of profound truths and words proclaimed – the testimony of a life lived well and beautifully in Christ!

 

And now, I close these reflections on my Australian friend Geoff Richards’ legacy with my very favourite of his Pilgrim Notes’ closing words…

 

“Always in His, the very best of names.”



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