Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mud Pies and Glory

Jesus hears your every expression of grief . . .
He knows the sound of your falling tears.
Rev. Tim Wesemann,
"Grieving with Hope, Leaning on Jesus."

Sorry to say it, but most of the grief books or articles that we have been given this past year really haven't been of much use (except for this one quoted which was given to us by a new friend who has literally been in our place.) Most of those books contain very worldly advice, wrapped in pretty Christian packages. Of the one's that I have read so far, none of them seem to be indicating that we should be finding our joy in God's sovereignty as we trust Him in our sorrow, or that heaven really is the goal for the believer. Almost all of them seem to be pointing to the "graduation" from grief, which is accomplished when one learns how to live again without your loved one.

In other words: somehow let's all attempt to make death normal and accept it, rather than seeing beyond it into eternity, especially our very own eternal destinations, and the great big God that is behind everything. We'll all link arms and pretend with each other that death is "normal."

Death should really be a flashing neon sign that screams at us to wake up. It is reminding us again that all is not right with the world; death is the epitome of sin itself. As John Piper says: "It is a great sadness when sufferers seek relief by sparing God His sovereignty over pain." As I've repeatedly said: "My problem isn't with the God who ordained my son's death, it is with my reaction to it."

As His children, do we delight in God? Like Job*, do we trust Him in the good and the bad? Really trust Him?

I read the other day that the great apostle Paul lived for two days: this day, and that day. Scripture is full of the phrase "in that day," referencing to the day that Jesus will return. This struck me, because it so simply sums up my unanswered question from all these months: "How do I live now?"

I guess I live today making every attempt to be obedient and to draw nearer to Jesus because God has me here today so therefor He has a purpose in it. But at the same time I live for "that day," anxiously looking for it and longing for it.
These days are short; eternity is long.

Somehow I try to equate new calves and peeping chicks as having much meaning in light of God's glory. So much of my effort seems futile when I am only pouring it into my earthly kingdom. I can't figure out how to balance the seemingly meaningless things we are all accustomed to pursuing in light of the reality of eternity; especially an eternity with promised rewards* from an in-exhaustive Heavenly Father.

The kids and I were talking about those rewards the other day. I asked them what they thought the rewards would be: chocolate, gold, toys, chickens. We could all only guess. Jesus Himself offered them; rewards for eternity for all those things done in His name.

Then why do I invest in the temporary?

The kids were fighting over a certain colored cup the other day. Our cupboards are overflowing with every type of mix-matched cup imaginable thanks to a certain Uncle Jim, and yet this one single cup they both had to have. I not-so-graciously flipped out. It's a cup! Give them the cup! Are you telling me that you wouldn't give up one lousy plastic cup in exchange for eternal rewards? Go further~ fill it up with water*, hand it to your sister . . . Jesus promised eternal rewards beyond what we can even imagine for such a meaningless action. Yeesh.

And then I do the same thing.

The physical is so tempting. But I want the cup, the house, the jeans, the hair-do, the goat. I want it here. I want it now. I don't want to wait for what's better. I can't see it, therefor it's hard to believe it.But if we believe in Jesus only for this lifetime we are to be pitied more than all men*. He said to look for "that day" when His glory would be revealed in it's fullness. Those who hold out the Word of God will shine like the stars in the universe, Scripture says*. Do you think He's kidding? I bet Trent would tell us otherwise. I think had he known, if any of us really knew, we would have handed over the cup.

What if we lived like God wasn't kidding?

What if believers lived for Him; lived for eternity, looking for His glory to be revealed in it's tiniest form here as we believe and trust Him and live by and proclaim His Word through our actions and obedience? What if He's not kidding and it's too late to realize it until we get there? Has He not warned us, or been patient enough, or been kind enough?

Like C. S. Lewis said:“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

What if we weren't so easily pleased by the world's offer of mud pie's, but rather looked up to this amazing God who created the sea's and so much more?

How do you do that?

I don't have the magic answer. I do know it involves alot of prayer, Scripture, an intentional drawing nearer to this God, repentance, and trust*.

*Job 1:21; Matthew 10:42;1 Corinthians 15:9; Revelation 20:12; Philippians 2:14-16; Hebrews 10:19-27