Chapter Eleven

Our Little While

On December 15, 1915, a missionary in Portuguese West Africa (Angola) wrote a letter, which he described as a “difficult duty.” A fellow missionary and laborer for the Lord had just died due to black water fever. He left behind his wife, the missionary team and the work. The missionary writing the letter, Frederick Ernest Samuel Olford, described in detail the events leading up to the actual “home going” of Mr. Taylor, this fellow missionary. Towards the end of Frederick Olford’s recounting of the funeral for Mr. Taylor he writes:

“…...After this I read John 14:1-4, speaking of the blessed hope we have of soon seeing our Lord Jesus Christ, and also our beloved departed brother. We then sang, “Jesus is coming again,” after which one of the young men in fellowship prayed….. As we took the last look we were comforted by the thought, “Only a little while.” Blessed hope, Hallelujah!

Frederick Olford continues:

“But we remain.” During the “little while,” we desire to be faithful unto Him. To this end pray much for us……. “Our eyes are up unto the “Lord of the harvest,” that He might thrust forth many to this needy field. ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.’ Luke 10:2 Pray –“

This letter written by Frederick Olford has great personal value to me and our family, but I have shared experts from this hand-written letter because of its relevance to our study of 1 Peter. You will notice the emphasis on hope and the return of Christ. At the same time, you may have noticed the phrase “only a little while” and “during this ‘little while.’” I do not know if my grandfather was thinking of 1 Peter 1:6, or 5:10 when he used these phrases, but he certainly seems to demonstrate a Petrine Perspective.

It is so hard to view our lifetimes or time remaining as a “little while,” especially when suffering and facing hardship. And yet, in the light of the return of Christ and eternity, that is the right perspective. This does not make less of such sufferings or persecution, but it reminds us of the hope we have, the grace of God that is ahead, as well as the grace available right now.


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