I don't write devotionals. I wouldn't presume. But this experience tonight got me thinking, and so I wanted to share my thoughts.
This evening, we went to Chick-Fil-A to celebrate. My littlest Monkey turned 2 on Monday, and I was a total delinquent and forgot, until about 3 p.m., that it was his birthday. Then I went out to Knit Night, and when I came home everyone was sick. So we postponed the party.
Driving home tonight, Monkey2 suddenly piped up from the backseat:
"It's really dark outside, and I'm afraid!"
"But, Sweetheart, you don't need to be afraid of the dark."
"I know," she continued, "but what if bad guys come and kill us all?" (Where on earth do they get these questions!?)
I paused. I didn't want to tell her that wouldn't happen, because the truth is, someday, it could. I didn't want to trivialize her fear, or brush it off as silly. Anyone who studies history knows that bad guys in the night have been, and still are, the stark reality of much of the world. Safety is not the norm. When we lie down and sleep in peace, it truly is only because the Lord sustains us. (Psalm 4:8)
"Well," I replied, carefully, "if that happened, we would all go to Heaven to be with Jesus."
And she answered "Yes, but I don't want to go be with Jesus right now."
Isn't that the way we all feel, really? We're afraid, and Heaven sounds nice, and of course you want to go there when you die. But not now. Not today. And we are so afraid that something will take us, now, before we are ready.
The Bible describes a soul longing for God, as "As the hart panteth after the water brooks" (Psalm 42). We are challenged by the apostle Paul who said "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) We are urged to put our treasure in heaven, that our heart may be there, and not here, where all that we hold dear must eventually decay. (Matthew 6:19-20)
This is a paradox we must live out, day by day, seeking and longing for a reality that seems nothing but shadow, while living with a shadow that is the only reality we can see. But we don't need to be afraid, because the Truth is, what we see now, whether bad guys in the night, or health care reform, or the failure of health care reform, or economic crises, or geological crises, global, local, personal, or nationwide problems, these things are nothing. They have no true power. They are not worthy to be compared.
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:I try to remember that.
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (from Romans 8)