Friday, April 3, 2015

When I retire...


So, I've been camping out in Romans 8 lately. When you get to say verse 18 or so, it starts getting pretty intense. 

We have to share in Christ's suffering.
All of creation groans under the weight of waiting for God's glory to be unveiled.
Likewise, the Holy Spirit inside us longs to be at home with Jesus.
And we wait, too, for that day when our bodies will be made new and we will get our inheritance. 

It never ceases to amaze me that we are God's children. His kid! And as such we are unconditionally loved. Cared for. Protected. Looked after. Cherished.  We have the fullness of our father at our disposal. His name is ours. His house is ours. His treasures and wealth are ours. 

Just not yet.

This life is just a waiting room. Why do we set our hope on this lifetime? And I think in a 'churchy' way, we get this. 'Oh yes,' we think, 'There is more after this life. We get Jesus then. We will live forever with him and people won't die or get divorced and no one will be sad anymore. Hallelujah.'

But I still don't think we get it. 

I am not meant to be fulfilled in this lifetime.

Let me say that again, I (and you too) am not meant to get fulfillment out of this life! My fulfillment will come. Just not here. Not now. 

Jesus wasn't meant to be here either. Yes, he came to save us, but a perfect God in an imperfect world? Can you imagine how hard it was for him to bear? He had to wait and live knowing it wasn't supposed to be like this. All the brokenness. the emptiness, the unfulfilled longings - he suffered through the waiting. Through the day to day grit of living a long distance relationship with the only one who could make his soul at rest. 

One day, Paul tells us, all the crap of life will be gone; unable to exist in Christ's presence, which rights everything. Life is hard. Sometimes it  may seem peachy. Or, you may look at everyone else's Facebook and Instagram and think their life is pretty 'blessed' while you're struggling to see God in yours. But here's the thing: no circumstance in life is shitty enough to negate God's love for you.

His love is not driven out by cancer, or miscarriage, or unemployment, or porn, or depression, or singleness, or infertility. Delayed hope, shattered dreams, wreckage, wounds, scars - none of it is enough to mean we are not loved.

Sometimes I think we confuse good things God gives us with him loving us. A husband buys his wife flowers because he loves her, right? Does that mean that the man who doesn't bring his wife flowers doesn't love her? 

Of course not.

It's dangerous when we mistake God's blessings for His love.. When we lose sight of things and think life is supposed to be blessed here and we are supposed to have things here that are good. Hard times happen, not because He doesn't love us. But because we live in a broken world.

A broken world He saved us from. And that one day, we will leave.

I am meant to long for Him, to be loved by Him, and to tell His story of redemption as He sees fit - until I go home. And then, ah, then. THEN. I get all I long for.

So often we see heaven and eternity and life with Jesus as a nice, cozy ending to a well lived life. But no. Heaven is not retirement for Christians. It is not the relaxed, peaceful ending of our lives here on earth. We do not ease into it with a farewell party and a cake.

Heaven is not retirement. 

It is our wedding. The day we long for. The day we can't stop thinking about. Our end goal. The Big Day.

And I want to freaking elope and get there already. With Him. Because here's the thing; life doesn't end when we die and go see him. Life (the way it was meant to be) won't really start for me until I die and am with Jesus.

So scrap that idea that a peaceful, full life is supposed to happen. That you're supposed to be married by 30 with a big brick house in a nice subdivision and have three kids and a small SUV. That you're supposed to have a happy thriving marriage and great health and these bumps in the road...geez, they're not supposed to be there, but you have Jesus, and will get through the bump until life smooths out again into what it should be.

Because here's the thing: the bumps don't matter. Not that God isn't intimately involved in our lives (because He is) or doesn't give us good things (He totally does). But do you see what I mean? Stop living life as though this is your big thing right now. I remember in high school when things got all girl drama and weird and I hated it, my Dad told me: "High school is nothing. College is great. Adulthood is even better. This is not the end all."

He was totally right of course.

And you know those people we all talk about behind their backs who treated high school as if it were the pinnacle of their existence? I think as Christians sometimes we do this with life. Life here is high school. Who cares if it sucks? One day we'll grow up and go to college. We'll get married and have babies and have long, full lives with Jesus in his dadgum presence. We will get EVERYTHING we long for, because, well, nothing will matter in comparison to him.

I had a binder in high school and college of wedding ideas. Things I wanted and dreamed about and hoped for my entire adolescence and through my twenties. And you know what happened? The only thing I wanted on my wedding day was Dave. The. Only. Thing.

Hang on dear sister and brother. One day, we will get there. 

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