Friday, January 1, 2010

Abstract Heaven?



 ...Packing boxes, packing barrels, packing suitcases; it seems all I've been doing the last couple days is pack. For those of you who do not know, my family is about to make another cross-country move. We're not foreign to the art of packing either, for as far back as I can remember we have done our own boxing up, each person with their individual area of expertise. Mine is packing books, in fact, they are the first thing I pack up, lovingly caressing the well worn spines before saying goodbye; and the books are the first thing I unpack on the other end, happy to gloat over them again. Yes, I have a small major problem with book infatuation.

...But this blog post isn't about books (As much as I would love to ramble on about them). Its about some thoughts I've been having in this stressful season of change and needing to trust God.

...Excuse me while I vent; Lord, what is Your plan in all this? Do You realize I've moved seven or eight times, most of them across country and continents, in my life? I don't have roots, I don't have a culture to call my own. I'll probably never see my birthplace, and I'm not sure I want to. I've left friends sprinkled across the states like the stitches in a patchwork quilt. I don't even have time to get to know people properly before its time to uproot and move again. A piece of my heart is torn out every time we find a new church, and leave it. I don't know where I belong, the chances are - with a family this size - that most of us won't even live near each other in the end. I love my siblings, through all these moves we've grown so close, we've clung to each other. Cried with each other, know each other. Lord, what is your plan?

...Where is our home? Is it with our family? Is it where we were born and raised? Maybe we have an attachment to a particular house, to the view outside our bedroom window. Is it where we feel happiest? Maybe home to you is the most special place on earth, a place you can't imagine leaving. These thoughts are sweet, beautiful, and touching, but ultimately not true. Our home is not where we live, it is not even we live with, it is what we live for. Heaven is our home. Heaven is our hope.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:8-10

...The Lord has been gently reminding me lately that this life is a temporary one. My real life at home in perfect peace is yet to come. While I live here I am not to become too attached to places, things, even people. His work is all that is important, bringing glory to Him should be my joy and happiness. I am an empty vessel of clay in the King of kings hands, how amazing that He should condescend to make me a temple holy to Himself? That the Holy Spirit should dwell in me? Nothing in this life compares with the knowledge that I am going to spend an eternity with Jesus Christ. Every discomfort is worth the coming prize. Every disappointment is worth the sanctifying work He is doing in me.

..."These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16

... God has prepared a city for His own, for me, but how much time do I spend thinking about it? People who have dreams and hopes speak of them. How often do I talk with others about the ultimate hope we all share?

...Pioneers on the Oregon Trail spent grueling months traveling to their new homes. At night after work filled days, days filled with broken wheels, drowned livestock, burning sun, Indians, wild animals, sickness, and thirst, they laid their weary bones down and whispered in hushed tones of the life they would build for themselves and their children. What kept them going? Hope in a good future. Do I treat heaven better than I treat earth? Does it occupy even a quarter of my thoughts each day?

...Don't misunderstand me, I know we need to focus on our work here and now, on the tasks God gives us each day. I'm not suggesting that we recklessly abandon our jobs and homes to start online chat rooms devoted to our dreams about heaven. On the contrary, like the pioneers who knew they had work to do and did it, we must do our work. But I don't think those weary travelers forgot for one moment where they were going and why. My fear is that for many of us, myself included, Heaven has become too much of an abstract term. We must not lose sight of the goal, or give up on the crown. Personally I think that crown is real in some tangible way. Not just some symbolic meaning. Heaven is not a possibility or a dream, it is as real as the ground we stand on.

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

...We are not beating against air. Nor are we running for something that will perish. Remember that one day this will be a dreamlike memory, and Heaven the hope that is seen. God loves to turn things on there heads doesn't He? He makes the wise of the world foolish, and the foolish wise. One day everything we see as real and tangible in this life will be mere abstract memories - only the things He is working in us will remain.

...I'm on a spiritual journey which is longer and harder than the physical one I will be making soon. In fact, this move across country isn't even important in and of itself, its only important in light of my spiritual journey. With this in mind it is my prayer that none of us will burn out quickly in the secondary physical race through lack of focus on our very real Heaven.








1 comment:

Justice Pirate said...

I wish more people would have read this and commented on it. What an inspirational entry!! Thanks for telling me about it and letting me read a part of your heart.

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