Heaven.

(I was reading this on the transit on my way home, and thought you might appreciate the passage, too!)

It’s a sharing from a missionary from her youth from a trips to Hungary, Czech, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

Meetings were often held in crowded apartments and barns, hidden away from the secret police; believers walk for miles to gather; some lost their jobs because of their belief, others had husbands imprisoned and children questioned.

In them and in their loud and fervent singing, the missionary saw –  amidst pain, fear, and sadness for their oppression – tears of joy and hope. She asked why, and a stooped, silver-haired woman replied:

[I’m just going to quote the book now]

 

“When you really need there to be a heaven and when you believe in it with all your heart, you have great reason to rejoice because you know this life is so short. You count on the fact that you will live forever in a place that you were designed for from the beginning of the world. The problem is that, sometimes, you who live in the Western world have so much of heaven on earth, with all of your things and relative security and stability, that you can’t clearly see the world that is ahead. And often, I think, you don’t feel as much of a need for heaven…

The one who can clearly understand why heaven will be such a place of blessing will never demand too much of life in a world that has been separated from God. We know from the shadows of beauty we see hear that we were designed for a better place. It is for our joy in that very real fact that our hearts are full and that we sing so strongly.”

“And so, gently, Jesus began to loosen my grasp on what I wanted from this world to make me happy, to open my heart for what was ahead… Moving back to America where big houses fill almost all the cities, where things and “stuff” fill the horizon of our daily lives, and ease of life is an expectation, it becomes easy to sometimes forget the lessons of…earlier years…

 

For me, the lessons came through the details of my life story; those unanswerable issues that find no solution… [God] gently broke my dependence on those things that could never satisfy…

 

I learned to let go of temporal things more quickly, and the joy of just living and beingwith him through moments of my days became more real.

 

I am learning to savor each moment as one in which I can learn, grown, and love him even more.”

 

 

—-

Look up.  🙂

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Dancing with My Father (S. Clarkson)

Just read something that reminded me of what we were talking about the other day, and thought I’d share (thanks for your words of encouragement, as always.)

p 137

One of the underlying reasons for [the breakdown of true friendship and difficulty cultivating love in life-laying-down relationships] is that people are looking for deep fulfillment in their empty lives apart from God’s design, apart from loving, serving, and obeying God. Instead, they pursue relationships that have no ultimate purpose or divine glue to hold them together. And so it is possible to go from one activity to the other, one sexual experience to another, and never find that hollow place in life filled up…

We are created to be one of the venues in which the Spirit of God demonstrates the reality of his own unconditional love…

True, fulfilling love is based on the principle of laying down your life for your friend. Love that accepts the limitations of each friend… Love that overcomes petty irritations and differences with the strength of God’s gracious love.

135

If our relationships are built around serving God and obeying Christ by laying down our lives for others, then our giving love will be about pleasing God – regardless of how the other person responds.  Every relationship becomes meaningful in light of doing what God wants us to do – to love- so that our joy can be made full (Reference John 15). Therefore, loving is not dependent on the other person’s behaviour, his immaturity, his inconsistencies, his selfishness, or any other way he might have hurt [you]. Rather, our love is given as Christ gave his love to us – generously, graciously, and freely.

[And here’s the best part — this type of love is freeing. Loving in the biblical way. “I can always succeed. I can always be at peace no matter how the relationship goes.” Because if I love this way (not saying at all that it’s easy), I’ve already fulfilled what is expected of me, and the rest is up to Him. See, freeing. There’s another section re: finding joy through being thankful. Great book — Definitely worth a read. – ITL.]