Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why I'm looking forward to heaven

I look forward to heaven because there will be no more pain. 

On days like the ones I've been having over the last week or two, this becomes forefront in my mind. I know that the absence of pain is not the best or most wonderful thing about heaven, but it is a very real and understandable point. No more headaches, no more leg cramps, no more back spasms. I think sometimes God uses aches and pains to develop in us a longing for a better place where He will heal and comfort us.

I look forward to heaven because the struggle with sin will be over. 

I really cannot imagine what it will be like never to struggle with temptation and never to fall into sin. I know that Satan works by deceiving us, by tricking us into thinking that sin will make us happier, more satisfied and more comfortable than God will make us. In heaven, we will have a clear view of God and a perfect understanding of Him. We will know Him as He is, in all of His glory, beauty, love, perfection and awesome power. Meanwhile, Satan will be bound and gagged in hell, unable to deceive us ever again. I think this is going to be more amazing and wonderful than anything we can begin to imagine. It will be perfectly freeing to live with no sin, no shame and no regrets. As I try to comprehend this, I realize that not only will we live in heaven without sin... we won't even have to face any temptations. I am certainly looking forward to this.

I look forward to heaven because people who will not forgive me here 
will have to forgive me there. 

I live with a certain (probably abnormal) amount of angst over being disliked. In heaven, our relationship with God will be perfected, which, and forgive me for using the vernacular (I don't mean it that way) will be totally awesome. But our relationships with other people will also be perfected, and that completely blows my mind. The Bible says in Matthew 18:35 that if you refuse to forgive your brother, God will not forgive you. This leads me to believe that if someone refuses to forgive me on earth, that person will either learn to forgive immediately upon passing through the pearly gates, or else will not get past the pearly gates. Living in a community of perfectly sanctified people who all always extend the same grace to one another that Jesus has extended to us... that will be a dream come true. I know they say that when there is a problem between people, you only suffer when you refuse to forgive, but I don't think that's quite true. You definitely suffer the most when you let your own unforgiveness rule you. But you do also suffer when you live under the indictment of man, when you cannot earn your way back into someone's good graces, and free forgiveness is simply not offered. Hallelujah, in heaven this will never be a problem.

I look forward to heaven because there will be 
no more fear and uncertainty. 

No longer will I be racked with guilt for a ridiculous pet dental bill. No longer will I second-guess so many of my decisions. No longer will I wonder how we will pay for college, medical care, taxes. No longer will I struggle to understand whether it is reasonable to spend money on, say, a vacation. Bring it on. I long for the day when I am truly free from the cares of this world, released in every way from the earth that groans under the burden of sin.

I look forward to heaven because there I will see God face to face. 

Honestly, this really scares me. It doesn't scare me the way thoughts of war and persecution at the hands of evil scare me. It scares me like a roller coaster, or maybe the way the thought of marital intimacy scared me before I got married. I know it will be good, great, wonderful. Yet, it holds a holy dread, a fear of the unknown, a fear of being totally and completely overwhelmed.

When Laura was born, I lost a lot of blood (a lot). Off in the distance, I heard Shawn's voice saying, "I think I need to go sit down..." and I thought, "Wow. I think I need to go sit down, too. And put my head between my knees. Oh wait... I'm already lying flat on my back." And with that, I faded a little out of consciousness.

The Bible suggests that a human cannot see the face of God and live. The face of God is enough holy glory to knock a man down dead on the floor. But when we get to heaven, we are already dead, so there you have it. I know it will be great, seeing God face to face, a thrill that exceeds all possible human imagination. But I'm scared anyway. Maybe this a healthy dose of fear of the Lord.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Trudging on

Since the last post: Laura got sick (same thing Shannon had), I fell in the bathroom and hurt my arm (slipped in the Lysol solution on the floor), David had a wisdom tooth complication, and Shawn's business trip to Baltimore was canceled due to the weather in Baltimore.

One of those things is good.

Yes, I am truly thankful that Shawn is home right now. God is great. Can you imagine if Shawn had gotten stuck in Baltimore and come down with the stomach flu there? One of the best things about being a person who imagines worst case scenarios (some call us pessimists) is the incredible thanks we can give when our fears do not come to pass!

Also I am thankful that we live in a civilized country and have enough money to buy whatever we need from the grocery store when we are sick. We are all stocked up on lemon lime soda, ginger ale, saltines, rice cakes, applesauce, chicken broth and yogurt. Well, the yogurt goes fast. It is hard to get the well people to leave it for the recovering sick ones. But I have to say, it was a blessing to be able to just go out and buy everything we needed without worry about whether I could afford it.

My bathrooms are very clean.

Jon and Laura went to the dentist and... NO CAVITIES!

Tomorrow, barring another soul falling to the flu, all I have to do is take DJ to the allergist and clean my house for small group.

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not a banner day


I prayed that God would help me not to be lazy.

Last night at about 10:30, Shannon said that her stomach hurt really badly.

By 11 she was vomiting.

She was up every hour all through the night. It finally slowed down at about 5 or 6, but then she drank some water which she completely lost, and then some, at 7:30.

So we started the whole 1 teaspoon of water every 15 minutes thing.

She was so thirsty.

After four hours of 1 teaspoon of water every 15 minutes, she had not vomited once, so I started her out with about 4 oz. of Gatorade to replace lost electrolytes. When she kept that down for an hour, I gave her more.

She has now taken in 32 oz. of Gatorade and the ice that was in it, and not vomited.

However, she is not hungry yet, which I do not take as a good sign.

She missed a quiz in her Differential Equations class (otherwise known as "Diff E.Q." which I always thought was spelled "Diffy Q," but what do I know? and yes, this is an attempt at levity). The students are not allowed to make up the quiz without a note from a doctor. Now, I understand that people do lie about things, but really? We have to pay out of pocket for sick appointments, so that would be about $100-$150, just for a doctor's note. And on top of that, what queasy, sick to her stomach person wants to be dragged to a doctor's office to sit in a waiting room with a crew of germ infested patients, only to be ultimately told that she should go home and do exactly what she was already trying to do, but was interrupted in the process of doing because she had to make a trip to the doctor?

I did dishes, cleaned, made beds, did laundry, went to the store for stomach flu foods, baked rolls and made sloppy joes (because it is Thursday, which is youth group night, and we always have sloppy joes, and also there are three other kids in the family who are not sick yet and still want to eat). Usually when there is stomach flu in my house, I preemptively put myself on a diet of black tea and white toast. Today I actually ate a sloppy joe. So either that is faith and grace in action, or it is stupidity. Time will tell.

Among other things, this morning I started to work on renewing Piper's dog license and found that we needed proof of his rabies shot, so I called the vet who said Piper was overdue for a rabies shot, but they could get him in at 10:45 if I could make it over, so of course I did.

The dryer is buzzing at me yet again, even as I type.

I am exhausted, but the kids' bathroom is really, really clean and the dog license renewal is in the mail. That is the good news.

In the mail that the mailman left after he picked up the dog license stuff, Laura received disappointing news about a college scholarship she had been hoping to get. It was not the best of days for me to cope with that. I am thinking uncharitable thoughts about that college right now, but perhaps I will feel more positive later.

So. I prayed that I would not be lazy, and I got a day that gave me no choice in the matter. I can see the hand of God there. Yup. My character isn't the greatest... I'm lazy when I can be, but when I have to work, I do.

Gotta go fold some clothes. It's a nicer job if you get them while they're hot.