Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thoughts About Heaven

For those of you that did not hear via FaceBook, we are praising God for the HUGE grant we received for our adoption! It is exactly the amount we needed to complete these last set of fees coming up. Now we can put put our efforts into saving for travel expenses, which is still a comfortable way off! I am so thankful to have that financial aspect taken care of!
My husband's friend, Jer, was diagnosed with a rare heart cancer a while back, and in the last few months, things have gone from bad to worse for him. I've only met the kid once since he lives about 6 hours away, and even then only briefly. In the short time I was around him, Jer struck me as one of those guys that was really sweet. He is not full of himself but is others-focused. He has a kind heart. Everyone seems to think well of him and enjoy being around him. He's just a bit younger than I am, he's military, and has a large, loving passel of brothers and sisters around him. He's one of those people that you think “Him? Cancer? Why?”
I don't envy him any of the pain, medical treatment or emotional upheaval he's gone through. I don't envy his family, who's been through the mill as his condition has worsened over time. I do, however, rather envy his opportunity to see Jesus face-to-face so soon. Ok, it sounds a little morbid. However, soon, Jer gets to see Jesus, our Savior. He will be made perfect, will become like Him, his body not wasted away with cancer. He will have his tears wiped away, his heart and soul made complete. He will be comforted from his earthly suffering. His faith will become sight when he gazes on the One that died to redeem him. Jer gets to be removed from this sin-marred earth. He won't be subject to sickness, aging, school shootings, terrorist bombings, paper cuts, addictions, car accidents, stubbed toes, broken families, bad habits, heartache, or flat tires. His adoption into God's family will be tangible when he goes Home to be with his Abba, his Father that loves him beyond comprehension. He will get to worship before God's throne with Paul the Apostle, Daniel, King David, Samuel, Isaiah, Noah, Rahab, Joseph and Barnabas. Jer will be able to more fully comprehend God's love for him as he meets his Brother, Jesus, who's death paid the adoption-price to make him a co-heir.
Yes, being face-to-face with Jesus is a precious thing. It's what Jer, me, and anyone else that is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ have to look forward to when we leave this fleshly body behind. Yes, I get a little green with envy that Jer will see Jesus soon. It's a good thing green looks good on me.
Paul writes something in Philippians chapter 1 that is quite apt. He says “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yes, what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith...” (v. 21-25)
Interesting. Paul, who had an insanely awesome walk with God, was able to see clearly the benefits of being with Jesus. However, he also realized the work that was before him: investing in the lives of those he came in contact with and completing the work that God had called him to. I'm not sure how it was that Paul had a choice about going or staying on the earth, but the point is that he valued the work God had given him and realized its eternal impact.
Unfortunately, in too-short of a time, Jer's time on this earth will likely be completed. He will be remembered, mourned, and greatly missed. His life will have impacted many people, and his testimony for Jesus will resonate in the hearts and minds of those that knew him. However, his face-to-face investment will be finished. His time on earth to live for the glory of God is complete. His opportunity to actively make a difference for Christ will be over.
My life and your life, however, still has that option. As people that are still alive and kicking, we do have the chance to invest in the lives of those around us and make an impact for God's glory. We do have the chance to make a difference in our families, our community, and around the world. We do have the chance to be that “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” that Romans 12 talks about. Make that opportunity count.
There is more I could say, given space and time, but my main point is this: Do something with the time you have to impact others for the glory of God.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

(I'm not a huge Southern Gospel fan, but I love how this song conveys the excitement of being in Heaven)