All posts tagged hope

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

FYI, this blog is intense. There’s nothing funny in it unless I insert a knock-knock joke… we’ll see.

“Ma! Dorothy!”

I entered Mom’s room around 2am. Hands clenched behind her head, she called out into the darkness for her deceased mother and sister.

“Mom, it’s me, Pauline.” She turned her head the opposite way. “I’m over here, Mom.” Her head moved toward me as her eyes tried to focus.

“Where’s Pauline?”

“It’s me Mom. I’m Pauline.”

Focusing her eyes on me, her face relaxed.

“Were you sleeping?”

I assured her I was and that I very much wanted to return to bed.

As soon as I entered my room, guilt washed over me. Why couldn’t I be more patient? What must it feel like for Mom to not know where she is and who is there? 

Then sadness washed over me. Mom’s life is simple. She moves from her room to the table, occasionally onto the porch where the dogs lick her hands and check her bib for food scraps. A cat may hop into her lap or circle the wheelchair. She’s cared for and we love her, but it’s hard to watch. Harder to live.

Recently, my pastor began his message with, “We’re all going to die.” He quoted Larry King about his obsession with death.

I face death every day in the face of my mom. Before her, I watched my father die. I know what it looks like from a growing old point of view.

It ain’t pretty. But it’s not the end of the story. For a follower of Christ, there’s eternal hope. It’s not our best life now.

Good thing.

And I don’t even have a thing to complain about.

But I do–complain, that is.

My pastor went on to speak about the resurrection. Here’s what Paul said in I Cor. 15:53-57:

 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

That is a great promise. Victory over death.

The book of Hebrews helps me understand life, death, and the resurrection better when it describes Abraham’s life:

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10

When I’m overwhelmed with the decline of my mother or sin in the world or my own sin, I need to remember this…

I’m not home yet.

In America, it’s easy to want to hang around on earth.

It’s comfortable.

But it’s not home.

My mom is almost home.

She’s knockin on heaven’s door.

One day we will all be at that door and the only way to enter is through faith in Jesus Christ. Not good works, not church attendance, not even the stuff we didn’t do. Just faith.

Not to accept this free gift brings judgment.

So let me tell you a knock-knock joke. You decide if it’s funny…

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

God.

Will you enter?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investing in Christmas–Fitting In

“Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?” I asked almost everyone I greeted on Sunday morning.

What I think I meant was, Did you spend it with someone you loved? 

I wondered about this as I dropped my daughter and son-in-law at the airport for their flight home.

Then I sobbed.

The reason I sobbed wasn’t because I missed them already. That’s a given.

The reason I cried was I wondered where I fit in.

My kids are grown. They have spouses and fiancés and good friends and new family. It’s normal. It’s expected. It’s hard.

“How do we know how to fit into our children’s’ lives?” I asked Tom while I snorted into a Kleenex. We live a twelve-hour-shift away from them. We can’t offer them an exciting time. Watching the sun rise. Listening to chickens coo. Throwing a stick for our dog, Sam.

“That’s not for us to decide, Pauline.”

Tom is almost always right about those things. It’s infuriating. And refreshing.

“Besides, we have some new family now. A bigger family–the body of Christ here at our church.”

Right again.

Where I “fit in” is in a heavenly kingdom.

And it all began with a baby in a manger. The season we just entered.

I grew up as the daughter of Salvation Army Officers. I’ve seen lonely and plenty who didn’t “fit in.”

So I know there are lonely, hopeless people in all income brackets and of all races.

That is the beauty of the Christmas story–hope.

God became a Man so we could be part of a heavenly kingdom.

So we could have an eternal place to fit in with a loving Savior.

It’s the reason to hope. The reason to praise. The reason to share with someone who doesn’t have a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Merry Christmas.

The real Christmas Gift.

Jesus.

But, I still miss my kids.

Hang in there, friend. I’m going to write every day until Christmas.

Galatians 4:4-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAssOfn5cAI[/youtube]

 

 

Real Hope

“Someone said that living for this earth is like re-arranging furniture on the Titanic while she’s going down,” my pastor said.

This world is doomed for destruction. Even those who don’t believe in the judgment of God believe  that we will somehow destroy ourselves.

Scripture tells us that one day, this world will be judged and destroyed by fire.

Even before that, we will all die. And we don’t know when.

Just this week I attended the funeral of my friend’s son. She didn’t think she’d be planning his funeral when he was just 20 years old.

At 48-years-old I moved my father into a nursing home. He and Mom  lived with me for almost six years. Dad lost both legs to diabetes and finally it was too much to continuing caring for him.

I hurried around the house, preparing him for the move. When I gathered his belongings, I could hold them all in one arm. My father was going to a nursing home to die. We both knew that.

That day changed my life.

I continued to visit him and saw first-hand what our culture conveniently withholds from us. Namely, that unless we die an untimely death, we will grow old, we may grow sick, and then we will die. Then what?

I asked myself a few questions: What am I spending my time doing? What am I holding onto that will rust or fall apart. Did my life have meaning?

Did I have hope?

Yes.

Jesus.

He is our only hope. He is our salvation. Scripture says that “without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 (NLT)

It also says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NLT)

I made changes. I’m making changes based on the eternal truth of God’s Word.

I’m investing in heaven.

You never know when you’re leaving earth.

Invest well.

Invest today.

Find hope.

Stop re-arranging furniture.