Yesterday I got one of those glimpses of an eternal perspective. I had finished a three mile run and while heading back over the bridge into the park couldn’t resist plopping flat on my back into the leaves under a tree by the creek while my nonno was still playing into my earphones. The David Crowder band “Come Awake” song was asking if we are left here on our own. Watching the leaves sail this way and that on their way down and the clouds speedily floating by overhead, very visible now through the near naked branches, I thought of the works of my life sailing this way and that. Just as the dying leaves serve a purpose long after their peak, so do our lives. Maybe the “Come Awake” lyrics “night is weighing heavy now” refer solely to dying and the promise of eternal life and, if so, there is ample promise and meaning in that alone. But for me, they also hold meaning for the here and now. Night may weigh heavy from time to time, but when I wait quietly for His voice, after that last breath of “me” is out of the way, He brings me back to life and shines His light and love on my way. Watching the clouds overhead remind me that Jesus is preparing a place for me up there. It won’t be that long in the big scope of things. I want my life to count for something for Him.
The difficulty is getting the “me” out of the way. I want to do anything God would have me do. I read in “Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My Soul”, that you can usually tell that something here has become an idol “because you have an extreme reaction when it is threatened.” I might try to excuse my reactions as not extreme, but the bottom line is: Is God pleased with them? Are my reactions balanced with the realization that this life is just a vapor? There is so much I can deal with for just this little while. The heroes of faith that God holds up for our inspection in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews had this one great thing in common: they considered themselves temporary residents and lived according to promises that their eyes could not see – aspiring to a heavenly land and keeping their eyes on the reward. How many times have I fastened my eyes on some pitiful, temporary excuse of a reward; often one that would mess with my eternal focus!
I want to daily refocus my spiritual eyes to what really matters. I am physically near sighted and that’s ok, but I don’t want to be spiritually near sighted! I want to do anything God would have me do. My “anything” is likely different than yours. I doubt two “anythings” for God are alike. Yours may be mission work in a foreign country. Mine may be tackling my household chores with cheerfulness and a song in my heart and on my lips. Yours may be a physical handicap or a possibly terminal diagnosis, and somehow bringing glory to God through that ongoing and frightening trial. Mine may be honoring my husband. Yours may be giving away all your possessions. Mine may be practicing frugality and transparency with the budget. Yours may be adopting needy kids, maybe even similar to Katie Davis who gave up all her dreams in her youth to mother 13 girls in Uganda. Mine may be keeping busy at home according to Titus 2:5 (and homemakers, don’t let anyone make you think this is not an important mission)! Yours may be taking on the sexual trafficking industry (as Sarah McReynolds and others are doing). Your call may be to let go of all your earthly comforts, or it may be to help create and sustain them for a stable, happy environment for your loved ones. Yours may be blogging or journaling about happy family life, overcoming addictions, coming back from failures, homeschooling your kids, teaching your kids about God day in and day out through your words and your actions and reactions, teaching in public school, being a witness in the school system or outside of it, being a prayer warrior, encouraging others, and on and on. It may involve learning to be lonely so you can press into the real Lover of Your Soul. But it needs to cost. There should be a continual death of self in the process, because self will resurface even during sacrificial pursuits! Luke 14:33 says “So therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
The hardest or most important things we do in life should empty us of ourselves and put Christ in instead, so that God can be glorified. These sacrifices do not leave us empty and sad, however, because God is pleased with them, and He fills us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him. No, we are not left here alone! We get glimpses of Heaven and eternity often in life through worship, scripture reading, Bible studies, moving sermons, deathbeds, funerals, childbirth, weddings, hanging out with children, star gazing and such things as laying on our backs under the trees watching the clouds. These experiences aren’t rare at all. Hanging on to the perspective they give us, however, is the challenge. 2 Cor. 4:17…”Look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transcient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”