It is 2021, and life has been challenging to say the least for billions of people throughout the world. Physical illness, death, loss of jobs and businesses. Honestly, this is nothing new, is it? The sad reality is that life is difficult and fraught with pain and anguish since the fall in the Garden of Eden.
In the not so distant past, the world endured what is known as the Great Depression. While it originated in the United States, it led to severe unemployment, and resulted in massive financial losses in almost every country of the world.
Between 1929 and 1933, the U.S. stock market lost almost 90% of its value and approximately 11,000 banks failed, leaving many with no savings. In 1929, unemployment was around 3%, but by 1933, it was 25%, with 1 out of every 4 people out of work. The average family income dropped by 40%.
The worst years of the Great Depression were 1932 and 1933, when approximately 300,000 companies went out of business. Hundreds of thousands of families could not pay their mortgages and were evicted from their homes. Life was hard, really hard. On a personal note, my mom’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Romania not many years before the Great Depression and my great-great-grandfather Sipos ended up working on a U.S. government work program digging what is now known as Mastodon Lake, in Aurora, Illinois.
This is the context in which Albert Brumley wrote the song “I’ll Fly Away” in 1929. He said that he was picking cotton in the dust bowl of Oklahoma and singing a popular song, “If I Had the Wings of an Angel.” It was at that moment that he thought about flying away. He later said, “Actually, I was dreaming of flying away from that cotton field when I wrote ‘I’ll Fly Away.'” However, the song took on a spiritual meaning.
After the song was published, it was brought to the nation by radio and traveling Southern Gospel quartets. People everywhere were receiving renewed hope as they listened to “I’ll Fly Away.”
This song was not only a great encouragement during the 1930s, but for us today, too! A great reminder that this world is not our home. We are but sojourners and wanderers.
Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”
Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This life can be so very difficult, and yet there is something greater and more glorious awaiting us when we are finally in our real home heaven! This can and should give us significant comfort and motivation to pursue Christ with all of our heart!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
And when those whom we love dearly are taken to that glorious home, we can find solace and comfort knowing that they have flown away to be always with their wonderful Savior.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”