The holy longing for something more than right now

ecclesiastes3-11

“I’ll do that when I’m seven.”

“Or maybe when I’m ten.”

That’s the standard reply my five-year-old gives me.

Would you like to take ballet again in the fall?  

Do you think you would want to try this?

It’s never “yes” or “now” or even “soon.”

She has this timeline of plans, this plotted course, and she’s not really in a  hurry to jam-pack activity into this very moment right here.  Seven is soon enough. Ten is fine.  Why try to do everything when you’re five?

Part of me marvels at the wisdom.

What is it about me that tries to cram what feels like a life-time of living into every single day?

Something about me that cannot…..can….not…..leave the dirty dishes in the sink for the next morning.

I’m the anti-Scarlett O’Hara.  None of this, “I’ll think about that tomorrow” nonsense.  Today.  Today.  It has to be today.

I have to slip into bed every night, to-do list cleared out, dishes clean, laundry put away, nothing holding over for the next morning.

But my tiny girl lives out today and is content to let some things linger until tomorrow, or next year, or five years from now.

Today, she’ll do this.  And then one day she’ll do that.  Simple as that.

Part of me, though, worries:  What if I leave that for another day and that other day never comes?  Our lives are short.  Our future uncertain.  Our tomorrow is never guaranteed.

And if you leave too much left undone today, it just spills over on top of tomorrow and then the next day until it’s a 10-car pile-up of trauma and disaster.

I need to handle this and do this now, now, now!

In Lazarus Awakening, Joanna Weaver writes:

“Someone once asked, ‘Why do we tend to live like eternity lasts eighty years, but this life lasts forever?”

We are a mixed-up bunch: Our priorities, our timetables, all jumbled and topsy-turvy.

We think what we’re doing right now, this moment, this day, this season, this year, this project, this commitment, this ministry…is the end-all be-all.

It’s what keeps us up at night and what forces us out of bed in the mornings.

And yet, as Christians, the moment we choose for Christ to be our personal Savior, eternity with God begins.

It doesn’t start the day we die here and walk through heaven’s gates.

It begins that moment we bow our heads and our lives to His Lordship.

This very issue that leaves me sleepless and fretting or over-stuffing each day is a tiny speck in the grand timeline of eternity with Jesus.

And all those five-year-plans and ten-year-plans and budgets and agendas, hardly matter in the big picture of forever.

Our hearts long for this.  Truly.

God has created us for an eternal longing, a hope for something more:

He has also set eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11 b NIV).

We struggle to keep it all in balance and yet God breathes that refreshing breath into us, the reminder that THIS is not all there is.

The way the days sometimes stretch out in endless frustration or rushing or stress…that’s not forever.  That’s nothing more than a blip on the radar screen of the eternal.

Or the way one trial, a season of loss or pain or want, overtakes our life, and yet it’s here for this moment, and then it will be gone.

I read the reminder in Experiencing God:

God did not create you for time; He created you for eternity. Time- your lifetime on earth- provides the opportunity for you to become acquainted with Him. It provides occasions for Him to develop your character into His likeness. Then eternity will hold its fullest dimensions for you.

Every moment feels a little more sacred.

Not more rushed.

Not more stressed.

Not more important even.

But holy.

Because the life we’re living in the here and now is just part of that eternity with Jesus.  We can love Him, know Him and worship Him, spend each day in His presence, and that forever-life shifts our perspective.

This situation.  The to-do list.  The appointments.  The schedule.  The annoyance.  The personal hurt.  The betrayal.

Those are so temporary.

What matters most is yielding to Him.  It is listening to His Spirit.  It’s sharing a laugh with God or marveling over the beauty of His creation. It’s rejoicing over the salvation of another.  It is dumping the sin out of the trash-bin in my heart.  It is allowing God to construct peace or patience or joy in my life.

What matters?  What doesn’t?  It’s all a little clearer in the light of heaven.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

Seeing is Believing

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You”
Job 42:4, NASB

Some things you have to see to believe.

I had heard a few mentions about pajama jeans from friends, but then I saw the commercial myself for this “hot new fashion sensation.”  They “look like designer jeans, but are so comfortable, you’ll want to sleep in them!” Wow!  They really exist!  It’s not that I thought my friends were making them up before.  They are trustworthy people and if they said jeans existed that were really pajama pants, I knew they were telling the truth.  Yet, until I saw the pictures with my own eyes, I had no way of envisioning how this fashion enigma looked in actuality.  I had no personal understanding or experience.

Isn’t it the same in our relationship with God?  We hear about Him, we talk about Him, we read about Him, we listen to other people postulate about Him.  In groups, we listen to people talk about hearing from God as if it’s no big deal; it just happens all the time.  We perhaps nod our head knowingly and privately wonder what that’s like.  What does His voice sound like?  How do you know what God is saying?

In some cases, knowing God is twisted and deformed into knowing about God.  In essence, our walk with Him becomes an academic exercise rather than a personal relationship. Job and his friends participated in just such a round-table discussion.  There Job sat in the sackcloth and ashes of mourning, devastated by the loss of his children, his wealth, and his personal health, and his friends stood around him philosophizing and debating.  “God would do this.  He wouldn’t do that.”  So many opinions about how God works and what kind of box you can put God into.  For 33 chapters in this book, they talk, talk, and talk some more about God.

We sometimes think we know a lot about God, but then we have the opportunity to see Him for ourselves, to experience Him in a way that is real and personal.  It’s our moment to believe Him—not just believe in Him and believe that He exists.  No, truly believe Him.  Believe what He says.  Believe in His promises to us.  Believe His character—that He loves us, that He’s mighty, that He’s kind.  It’s a seeing that only comes through experiencing.

Job met God in just such a way. Ultimately, God ended the theological debate between Job and his friends “and now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm.  He said: ‘Why do you confuse the issue?   Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?'” (Job 38:1, MSG).  Why all of this intellectual discussion when you actually know so little about me?   Then Job answered the LORD and said,”I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted . . . I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:2, 4).  Priscilla Shirer in One in a Million paraphrases this as, “Now I know you by experience.”

The Apostle Paul, himself no stranger to hardship, wrote to the Corinthian church:  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed . . . All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 15, NIV). A pastor at a recent conference I attended broke this down:  All of the trials and difficulties and dark days lead us to understand God’s grace.   That helps more and more people know God and so we give thanks and give God the glory.

My personal “experience” with pajama jeans didn’t involve any cost or discomfort.  It was a safe and painless exposure.  Yet, sometimes with God, He takes us through the difficult times and the seasons of loss and hurt until finally, like Job, we haven’t just heard other people talk about God, but we’ve seen Him ourselves.  We now know the sound of His voice because His Word has become real to us, present, active and alive as a result of our desperate searching for Him in the midst of difficult days.  It’s all for our benefit, so we can experience His grace, know His voice, see His hand—all with our own eyes.  And then we believe.  And others believe because they are watching us.  And God is glorified.  And that is enough.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King