On Sunday our pastor began his sermon by rhetorically asking how much people in their everyday lives consider eternity, fixing their eyes on heaven. He guessed that for most people, little to none of their thoughts focus on our eternal home.
Prior to Judson’s death, I would easily fall under that synopsis, living my life with minimal heavenly perspective. However, the absence of my son has acutely awakened my longing for heaven wherein my mind is regularly consumed with thoughts of God’s kingdom and my Juddy awaiting me there.
Ironically, now I struggle more with finding sufficient hope for this lifetime since losing my son. It is not that I don’t want to live and live fully, it is just that I have become so convinced that God does not promise us earthly lives of comfort that I fear a life of more hardship. My pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that it is as though I am constantly bracing myself for more impending pain, suffering, and devastation, while longing for the relief that awaits in heaven.
People regularly tell us that God is sure to shower us with blessings after all we have been through, but I’m not sure he promises anything of the such in this lifetime.
C.S. Lewis put it this way:
I’m not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
I am wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
I trust that in the end, God is working all things for our eternal good, but that does not mean the process will not include more pain. My intimacy with pain has helped me understand how the Lord uses it to change lives and how he wants to sanctify us through our heartaches, but my familiarity with it has also sapped me of zeal for this life; the truth is that I don’t want any more hurts. And, quite frankly, my longing for comfort seems to outweigh my desire to be sanctified.
Of course there are many things that bring me joy each day, Jessie being one of the greatest, but at the core I often feel like I am trudging through, just trying to be faithful.
Oh God, please help me see your goodness and experience your hope for this lifetime not just the next. You have come that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Whatever you mean by abundance, I’m crying out for it!