Some Things Take Forever

John 17:3 I often wonder what all of eternity will be like.

No sorrow, no mourning, no lack of anything good and absolutely nothing marred by sin. I'm fairly certain eternity won't involve clouds and harps.

I also wonder, though, about longing and satisfaction. The two must go together, for how do you know what satisfaction is if you don't experience a longing, a need that must be filled? Will we hunger in heaven and have the satisfaction of being filled? Will we have desires and then see them met?

Maybe all of this life contains enough longing and unfulfilled desire to meet heaven with. All our perceived and actual needs, all the trials of life and mistakes and injustices, maybe they're all righted in heaven and that leads to eternal satisfaction, without the need for any more longing.

Even in my dreams there is injustice I long to see righted.

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So what will satisfy a soul for all eternity?

I heard Ken Wytsma speak earlier this month and he said that our folly is in trying to make God less mysterious. Trying to package Him all up tidy and make everything spiritual be logical and easily reasoned and explained, so that we don't' have to take any leaps of faith. 

He talked about Abraham, trying to explain to Sarah where he was taking their son Isaac on the morning of the sacrifice. He concluded that Abraham came to a place we all need to come to: a place where we throw ourselves out there simply with the belief that God is good, and that's enough for us.

God is good, and that's enough for me.

A good God would not make an eternally-boring eternity for His children, harps and clouds and dull sweetness ad nauseam. He made this life, for heaven's sake, and there are boring people but nothing boring about living.

Jesus is speaking in John 17, red letters bleeding before the sacrifice, pouring out desire and longing before the Father Who was leading Him to the cross. Pouring out desire to a good God and completely satisfied with His goodness, even on the eve of intense struggle. He endured for the joy set before Him.

If any struggle on earth ever was enough to satisfy a soul for eternity, this was it.

While we seek to make God less mysterious here on earth, this sphere He created and we have yet to fully understand, He continues to allow those who will to search Him out.

And He's given us all eternity to know Him more.

This is eternal life. Spend forever, because you'll need that long, to know Me and My son and fellowship with us and search us out. Let Me be your desire and your satisfaction. Forever.

Go ahead and start now.

 

Linking up with Grace Laced Mondays, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria,Titus 2sdays,MercyInkThe Wellspring and #TellHisStory

In Which I Love Spring

Busy Bees This has always been my favorite time of year.

I remember that I read The Secret Garden when I was around eleven and it must have been spring, because I cleared out a little patch of ground and watched.

I waited for the green shoots. I cleared away the debris of winter and fluffed up the matted grass and soil and I watched the green heads poke through, just like Mary and Colin and Dickon.

I watched wildflowers and daffodils and tulips unfurl in the spring, beauty that I didn't work for. Beauty that would poke through even had I not cleared away winter's clutter, because that's the nature of things.

Wildflower

There's never been anything "green" about me. In fact, for most of my life I've shied from even the emerald color because of hair that I thought too red and if I'd had an accent it would have been fine, but I didn't, so it wasn't.

No green for me. Not my clothes, and certainly not my thumbs.

I have frequent sessions of what I call "Plant Rehab", where I gather up my poor, neglected houseplants and try to revive any remnants of life. I fluff up the soil, cut off any irreparable damage, and give them a little change of scenery.

Oh, and water. Plants like water.

So I've never been famous for my lush greenery or bountiful garden, and that's ok.

That's ok because wildflowers and daffodils and tulips still come up in the spring.

This year, I'm watching them along the creek and around the old house site on our property because in the fall my mind was filled with other things, and the thought of planting bulbs was spent on something else.

I can't remember what, but obviously not bulbs.

I walk the creek and remind the kids to bring me those flowers when they finally burst open. Let me enjoy the flowers I didn't work for, and don't let me forget to dig up some of the bulbs, to bring them closer for next year.

daffodil

Spring is green without your toil and the sun (here in Oregon, when we see it) is just warm enough for a sweatered-walk. That's perfect.

And spring is a few nice days in a row and then a break of rain and cloud, because the ground needs it and you might need it, too. It's ebb and flow and not too much of anything.

It's beauty I didn't work for. 

After a season of beauty-in-hiding and all the frumpy days of winter and the blues, it's high time for green. Time for some refreshing and a reminder of hope.

Christ in you, the hope of glory. The grace that you didn't work for but Christ died to give you - the seed that gave life by dying.

 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. - John 12:24 NKJV

And here's the greatest thing: all the rain He sent you has watered something. The storms made weak things strong and blew away the un-anchored debris, puffed out idle passions, left you exhausted and gray at times. But now?

Now it's spring. Now it's time to blow a soft breeze and kindle something dormant. To clear away debris, take stock of your damage, and find that Hope of glory.

Remember that grace is beauty you didn't work for.

 

 

Linking up with The Better MomGrace Laced Mondays, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria,Titus 2sdays,MercyInkThe Wellspring and #TellHisStory

On Love and Respect and All the Hard Things

I don't think marriage is supposed to be easy. It seems that most things worth doing are hard, they require thought and sacrifice, they spend you to the last ounce of energy and the reward is great because of the effort.

Paul says it's a  picture of Christ and the church, of uncontainable love poured out and lavished on the somewhat unwilling.  Of submission and trust and respect for that loving authority.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. ... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, - Eph 5:22, 25 NKJV

Loving me as Christ loved the church must be tough. 

 

I think submission is hard sometimes, but to love the unlovely, the crabby, grumpy, unthankful,  and mumbling?  The pony-tailed and sweaty?

And to love me not only in the way that makes me feel loved, with flowers or chocolate or date-nights or spontaneous house-cleaning.  Or built-in book shelves.

To love me the way I need it, too.   The way I sometimes don't want  it.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church.

Loving me by telling me no sometimes, telling me to wait, to be patient.

Or telling me, for my own good, to do those hard things.

  You love me like that, and I'm the better for it.

You love me enough to tell me what I don't want but desperately need to hear.  You've never said it quite like this, but you could: "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it."

Yep.  You married a silly, selfish girl.  Did you know that?   Did you know that loving me like Christ loved the church would be such a sacrifice?

You sure do it well.  You are gentle with me and patient, and I just want to thank you.

 Thank you for being like Christ and loving the unlovely.  For sacrificing and  cherishing and nurturing.

 

Like iron sharpens iron, we bristle and grate sometimes on our way to sanctification.  But what joy in this marriage!  How blessed I am to share life with you.

Thank you.

And that part at the end of Ephesians 5, about wives respecting their husbands?

A man leaves early every morning and sweats and toils, tapes up bleeding fingers and makes beauty out of wood and nails.  He gets up 6 days of the week with an alarm, eats thousands of sandwiches over the years without complaining, counsels, teaches, builds, fixes,  reads stories, preaches to the unreached, runs miles and miles with his slow wife, and sometimes makes pancakes for his family or does the dishes.

Respect almost seems like an understatement.  Couldn't there be a bigger word?  You deserve more than I give, but I hope, pray, yearn for you to know that I do. 

I do respect you.

You are amazing, for so many more things than I can list here.  

You are amazing when you smile at the end of a hard day and when you play that game of checkers or Linkology.  You are amazing when you laugh at my silly-woman-who-needs-to-get-out-more humor, when you read my words and think I'm something special.

My encourager, my gentle leader, my strong-man and my teacher.  My crush and my best friend.

Thank you.

 

{Edited and re-posted from the archives}

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose, and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays