This last week we were thrilled to have a short but sweet visit with some friends of ours. They left us with lots of laughs, a ton of smiley cookies, an avalanche of girls clothes which I SOO appreciate, and even two new sweaters for me! (Yes I did go back and get the black sweater.......THANK YOU FOR THAT!!) While they were here we had a quaint photo shoot which resulted in many sweet memories and pictures to boot. While rummaging through them again today I just kept looking at Joel and I and wondering when it was that we became "thirtysomethings." This thought and a few new blogs I wandered into have sparked some soul-searching and deep, deep thinking. Like past the, "I would love a few more oreo's," thinking.
Today I was introduced, via the web, to two amazing Widowers. Both men have small children to take care of. Both had only been married a short span, and both are in their mid-twenties. Hearing and reading their stories brought tears of grief for them and began questions in my mind FOR THEM, as if I had to know why God allowed this for these perfect strangers. Being the person that I am I held all of my thoughts and questions in until Joel appeared with Caleb home from kindergarten. I think I hugged Joel tighter than I have in a long while.
I smelled his cologne and smiled. I rejoiced that I was alive, and that I was his wife.
I made him a sandwich and we chatted like we usually do, and like we just love to do everyday. In fact we love to talk all the time everyday to be exact. And for those of you who are thinking, "Poor Joel," :) I just want to tell you that last night I asked Joel what it was that he loved for us to do together and, you guessed it. He told me that he just loved when we talk for a good long while.
So talk we did. We talked about God having a predetermined time for us each to live here on Earth. We discussed the fact that heaven is our goal and that the only way to get there besides the Lord himself coming, is for Him to call us home. Then I listened intently as Joel, as only he can, relayed the fact that we are here, we are created, to bring God glory, and for some people God allows different things because He knows that in His perfect will and way He will receive the most glory from it.
Today is one of those days where what you KNOW finally makes it into your heart. I know that heaven is our goal, but for some silly reason understanding that to get there means death to your physical life here some how escaped my reasoning. In order to get to heaven and be with God....I HAVE to die.
The other light bulb moment was when I realized that there really is never a good time to die. If you die when you are young people lament the fact that, "they had so much life yet to live." If you die with small children under your watch care, "they will never know what their Mother was like..." and let's say you were the ripe old age of 96 and died. No one will ever say, "Wow, I am sure glad they died."
There will always be people to miss, and as selfish creatures death is an enemy to us, but death physically means to finally be living spiritually. To see God face to face and not "Through a glass darkly."
The facts are the facts no matter what and sometimes I need "just the facts," void of any emotion to keep headed in the right direction. The facts are: I am going to die. This death is a time of rejoicing because I then can worship my Savior face to face free from sin.
It is interesting that Paul states in the first chapter of Philippians verses 23-26:
"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again."
Paul wants to be with the Lord, but realizes that the Lord still has work for Him to do. How many of us think to ourselves, "I would really rather be dead and alive in heaven, but for my husband and children I will stay and accomplish what the Lord has for me." Hmmmm.....
It is good to go into "the house of mourning," as Solomon states here, Ec 7:2 "It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart." It is good for us, the "living," to remember that we do have an end and that we are only here to bring honor and glory to God with the few days we have allotted to us. I am reading a book in which this illustration was given. Say you were an extra in a movie. For a few seconds in the film you could distinguish the back of your head and that my friends was your claim to fame.
Now let's say for some odd reason you went about telling people that this movie was all about YOU. You rented out a huge theatre to host your friends and family for it's premiere all for them to see your fleeting appearance. As silly as it would be for you to think you were the star of a film in which you were merely the backdrop for not even a noteworthy amount of time, THAT is how silly it is for us to live our lives as if our existence is all about our own wants, wishes and desires.
Isn't that a great illustration????????????????????????????????????
Going into the house of mourning, reading about these two Widowers reminds me that in God's timetable I am a vapor. Jas 4:14 "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
And it helps me see that I AM GOING TO DIE, but it is only through death that I can gain eternity, and so it isn't to be feared but embraced and left in God's hands as far as the timing involved. Our lives are not about us. The very breath we breathe is given by God's hand. We are only to use this short existence to do ALL WE CAN to glorify and magnify God whether it is at home in the lives of our family, in the world showing a real, loving Savior to those who long for word from Him, or even in a trial too heavy for us to bear.
Boy, when you think about heaven, think about what gain it will be for us (see there we are selfishly again!) it almost makes you envy those who have seen Christ face to face.......