My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

worldly Wednesday

Yesterday I went to Walmart on lunch. This is significant because I jealously guard my midday break for resting my back so that I can make it through the rest of the workday... and because I really don't like the tiny little Walmart that is right around the corner from my office. They're building a new one a mile down the road, maybe I'll like it better. At any rate... at some point in my travels over the weekend I managed to lose my cellphone charger. No worries... I thought... I'll just pop into Walmart and pick up a new one. Except... this little "wannabe a Walmart when it grows up" didn't have my charger. The nice man who helped me look said it would be hard to find. Great.

So for now, I don't have a cellphone. I plan to spend my lunch hour TODAY going to Radioshack to see if they have it. If not. I guess I'm gonna have to hit to see if I can find it there. I'm usually far more careful about keeping my stuff together. I blame the pain. It's diminished my ability to think clearly.

I said all of that to introduce my topic for today... I finished at Walmart in a few brief minutes and headed to my favorite lunch spot overlooking the Piedmont College baseball field. It's secluded but not so isolated that I could be abducted. It's quiet. It's in a very scenic spot. I can hear the chapel bell chime the quarter hour which helps me keep track of time without staring at a clock. It's on a little ridge so even on the hottest day it catches a nice breeze... and... it overlooks the baseball field which brings back sweet memories of thousands of baseball practices and games with my Cody.

Lately I've had a real hunger for spiritual things. I've wanted to spend more time in prayer (yes, Lyn, I pray a lot... I need a lot of prayer, you see!) I've needed verses of comfort. I've been searching to strengthen my faith. I reached a point where I needed to really feel God's presence. I've always had a childlike faith... lately I've been seeking a grown up faith. I need to be able to speak with more confidence about what I believe because the deeper my faith grows, the more people want to challenge it... and I need to have the answers... beyond "well... you know... it's... just what I believe"... WHY do I believe? And to be honest... I think the harder the hits we take in this world, the harder it becomes to believe in a loving, benevolent God. Those trials either make you draw closer to Him, or make you doubt Him. I'm determined to draw closer.

I was reading the 11th chapter of Hebrews... commonly called the Hall of Faith. It's a list of Biblical characters who were bold in their faith. Then it moves on to the 12th chapter which says, "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses..." I heard a preacher say once... whenever you see a "therefore" in the Bible, you need to figure out what it's "there for"... and obviously (to me at least) the therefore is there for you to look back at these examples and realize that living in faith brings a reward that doesn't always come here on earth... which led me to a train of thought about how deeply I am in love with this world.

Think about it. When someone passes away ... do you feel sorry for them that their life has ended, regardless of your beliefs about Heaven or Hell? I do. My best example is Misty, my former stepson's mother who tragically passed away at the age of 35, leaving behind three children... a 9 year old... a two year old... and a nine day old baby. I grieve (still, present tense) for all the things that Misty is MISSING here on earth... without really thinking of the eternal life that *I believe* she has attained. I never really managed to embrace what amazing influence she has over on the other side. In her Earthly state, she had minimal influence on the circumstances of her kids' lives. I think her real strength lies in what lies beyond.

And for myself... I fear dying because I fear what I might miss out on. I love my life. Yes... it's pain filled and sometimes lonely but I love it. I love the flavors, sights, smells, pleasures... I'm in love with my world. Yet... if I really believe what I say I believe, wouldn't I set my sights on the promise of the ultimate reward? I'm not saying I should want to die... don't misunderstand me here... I'm just saying that I'm so caught up with worldly pleasures that I'm not looking forward to what's to come.

This becomes even more timely if you believe in the signs of the times... the unrest in the middle east... the increase of natural disasters... the wickedness of this present generation that very closely resembles the attitudes as it was in the times of Noah, before the great flood. If you believe that the time of Christ's return is imminent... do you eagerly anticipate His return? Or do you FEAR being left behind... or have fears for the people you love who could be left behind?

In a way... it's like my retirement fund which is terribly anemic. I just haven't had the means to save for the future. What I have wouldn't carry me through a whole year and I'm - theoretically - barely 25 years from retirement. Likewise, I haven't saved up treasures in Heaven for myself. I haven't done enough. It's not enough to think about what happens should I survive to the ripe old ages that the women on both sides of my family typically do... I have to think about what happens when my time on Earth is over, whether that's next week or in the year 2058.

I'm barely prepared for the upcoming month... much less for eternity. I keep tripping through life, flitting (as a previous spouse would commonly say) from flower to flower like a butterfly... without a care in the world... and although I think that carefree part of my personality is a gift from God... I think it's time for me to think about what happens next.

Changing gears but not changing subjects... do you ever think about what people see over on the other side? Do you ever think that maybe they grieve for us, for the struggles of this world that they never again have to face? I truly believe that the "great cloud of witnesses" are seated in some Heavenly stadium, watching us "run the race" and cheering us on. And from that perspective... the more you've lost here on Earth, the more you've gained in Heaven... and from THAT perspective, if you really believe that there is life after death and you know that your loved ones were Godly people and therefore inhabiting Heaven... wouldn't you want to make sure you've punched your ticket?

I had an interesting conversation with Austin on Sunday night after he went to bible study. He said they had talked about the deadly sins... and I said, "I don't believe that any sin is unforgiveable... because of Jesus' death on the cross, we can ask forgiveness for anything. So from that perspective, there are no deadly sins" And Austin said, "there is ONE deadly sin... unbelief". Wow. What deep theological understanding from someone who... you would think doesn't really get it. No matter how badly I mess up in this present world... as long as I BELIEVE... there is always going to be forgiveness available.

I've rambled on long enough. I hope I've given you a few things to think about today and I hope you'll share your thoughts with me. It's a stormy day here in North Georgia. I haven't managed to get away from the pain in the past several days and it's wearing on me. We'll be shorthanded at work for the rest of the week so I don't have the luxury of checking out or leaving early. I've got to just hang tough... prayers, encouragement and positive thoughts are appreciated. Hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday!

love and hugs!

--------------- I'm adding my dad's comments because they were so encouraging to me... he can't post from work.

In regards to your blog the morning (our access to respond is blocked by ING), I would ask what "treasures:in heaven" are? We know it is not intrinsic stuff (gold, silver, etc.) - God uses that for building materials. Could it be relationships? Didn't Jesus value people more than anything else? I think so. I believe that is why His command to His disciples was to love one another. I believe that is why His commission to His disciples is to "teach all nations". So how does one set about fulfilling those instructions? Well, you don't! You just do. You see, the commission says "as you are going" ... which really means that loving and teaching are outcrops of the relationship one has with God. Does that make sense? So... as you are living your life, loving people, sharing the Good News of Jesus in what you say and do, you are storing up treasures in heaven ... and you didn't even realize it. Isn't that a neat thought? Love ya! Pop!


Terri said...

I don't WANT to die, but I do look forward to the afterlife. I can't even begin to imagine no pain, no worries. Being whole again! Wow! Seeing Jesus face to face. That is what I am living for.
But, there are things that I am not done with here on this great earth. I want to see my oldest be baptized! My youngest has been and she is such a Godly little young lady.

Praying for you!

Whats it all about said...

There are a lot of things i use to believe because i was taught them. There are a lot of things i now believe because i have experienced them. There are yet stil things i believe because i have faith in them. But, if im really honest my relationship with God is no longer 'based' on the bible. It is based on my personal experiences with God. The bible I utilise as a guide not a manual. I am at one with my God because i know him and have a rekationship with him. Whether what is written is right or wrong, true or untrue is irrelevent because of trust based on years of relationship experience