Saturday, June 4, 2016

The destination requires the journey

The Lord has a beautiful, incredible way of meeting us when we are at our lowest. A thought or encouraging verse flashes through our memory. Someone says a word that soothes a nerve just so. A song comes on the radio that cries out for us the feelings we were unable to vocalize.

Yesterday that song for me was “You’re Beautiful” by Shane and Shane. The two singers belt together in glorious harmony the following lyrics:

"I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful

I see You there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful

I see Your face, I see Your face
I see Your face, You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful"

The song itself is beautiful (do yourself a favor and give it a listen on YouTube) but it's the words they are saying captivated my attention yesterday. To be brutally honest, I have never been able to get on board with the whole idea of longing for heaven. Yes, I want to and am in fact going there when I die. But I have never understood those Christians who say they can't wait for the day when they get to see their Savior face to face and walk the streets of gold. People who would say such things always felt like such phonies to me.

I mean, I can eagerly get on board with the idea of no more crying (hallelujah can I ever!!) and I definitely like the sound of feasting and parties but the idea of praising God for all eternity has always stopped me in my tracks. Go ahead and shoot me but, as an introvert, that sounds downright exhausting and I would put it right up there with "run for president" on my list of things I'd like to do. I am the one you literally have to drag to get to go to a concert and even then I am always whispering silent prayers of Please God let it be one where we can SIT DOWN. Nothing appeals to me less than listening to or singing music STANDING UP for hours on end, let alone for all eternity. God help me.

It probably doesn't assist matters any that heaven has always felt ambiguous and I am one who fears the unknown. So yeah, I wouldn't say I've ever really longed for heaven.

"You can't enjoy the destiny without the journey."

These were the words Richard Dahlstrom, my beloved pastor, preached from the pulpit a couple weeks back. Growing up in the church, I have heard many a similar line throughout my years. But in this current season, the meaning behind it is profound.

As I wade through some of the muck of hurt and pain and confusion that exists here on earth, I am discovering a new thirst, a true longing for more. Richard's words really struck a cord with me - You can't enjoy the destiny without the journey. When we are in Christ, my journey, my pain, my experiences, your journey, your pain, your experiences DO and ARE serving a purpose - they are preparing us for our heavenly destination.

This mess, this murk, this disappointment - they were never a part of God's plan. And so we are left with two options: we can either let the pain overwhelm and threaten to completely crush us or we can cling to Christ, embracing the void that is building within.

I guess one could call it a longing for heaven.

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posted by kelsie