Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eternal...but not yet

So what do we do with this eternity that our hearts are set on while we live in a decaying world which is anything but eternal? Over the course of the last couple of months, I've been forced to take that question off the shelf where I prefer to keep it.

So many losses recently. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death up close and personal with a dear family who lost a very healthy man just shy of his 50th birthday. Lyndon was my friend. His wife, Kim, is a close friend. His daughters Angela and Alisha both came through our youth group from the 6th grade to the 12th. My bond with Alisha is special. I've always considered her my 3rd daughter. She and Chelsea have been the best of friends - with all the ins and outs of that- since they were like 11 years old. Lyndon was a runner. His goal was a marathon. He collapsed and died after he had completed his first 20 mile run. The doctors say the running prolonged his life by many years. Kim and Lyndon were just finding the joy of an empty nest which leads to rediscovery. His first grandson, Kooper, just 8 months old, loved his PaPa...and was adored by Lyndon. So I just have to ask, "Lord, what in the world?"

Then just a couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of my niece, a young woman who kept my own child many times, a young woman I had watched grow up - was found dead in her home. 34 years old. Paige had a way of spreading love and joy like few people I know. Truly. So I just have to ask, "Lord, what in the world?"

Today, a young man, 20 years old who grew up with and graduated with Chelsea was shot and killed today. I'm sure we will find out more of how and why this happened, but as I ponder the heartbreak of his parents, I just have to ask, "Lord, what in the world?"

So once again, I take the question off the shelf, dust it off, and ask, "What do we do with an eternity that has yet to come? What do we do with the fact that we live in mortal bodies with mortal endings - sometimes tragic endings? How, Lord, do we face tomorrow and accomplish the tasks you set before us when all we want to do is hold those close to us and not let them go? How do we continue life when pain cripples us and grief swallows us whole?"

I don't know the answers yet. I may never know until it is answered in completion - my eternal completion. But I do know that He promises that He will walk us through it. I do know that His Word says to lift our eyes up to the One from whom our help will come. I do know that Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will bring greater comfort than even the Son could bring. I do know that we can hide in the shadow of His wings. I do know that when we arrive we will KNOW the ones who have gone before us. I do know that there is no pain or sorrow and that Jesus Himself will dry our tears.

And I do know that this pain we feel is not foreign to our Savior. That's why He came. So He could be our Great Priest because of the depth of His understanding of our feelings, flaws and flailings. So He could feel everything that you and I feel. Remember the shortest verse in Scripture? "Jesus wept." That is in reference to the loss of His friend Lazarus and said right before He raised him back to life.

Hmm. The One who sees-and controls- the imminent resurrection also feels the horrid, consuming power of grief. Praise God. He knows and feels. And He loves us enough that He wants us to have hope beyond the grief. That's why He came. So that when we ask, "Lord, what in the world?" He can answer - This isn't our eternity. Don't look for it here. We are eternal...but not yet. If that weren't the case, then, well, He wouldn't have had to come. And we would never have the hope of eternity with Him and the privilege and the hope of Him being our answer - truly our all in all - in our now - our hurt, our horror, our loss.

Friday, December 4, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

So what is your favorite Christmas tradition?

"Going" shopping...like "2 hour road trip to the closest huge malls" shopping.

Baking everyone's favorite cookies.

Decorating the tree.

Christmas Eve service.

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve.

Listening to ALL my Christmas music.

My list is pretty endless...But truly my all-time favorite right now would be having both the girls and Jimmy and I at home on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together. I know that with Chelsea being almost 21, I have to cherish these years.

So flit over to this link and share your favorite tradition...and you might just win a $100 Visa gift card!