This morning, I am sitting in my office, drinking my coffee and trying to read a little news. I click on these articles about racial tension, the race for the presidency, sex trafficking, religious freedoms, and more. I see comments and conversations that display such hate and division…even among friends and family.
Then, I sit back and think about our situation. I look at my husband and wonder how much longer he will be on this earth with us. I look at my kids and I think about what is ahead of them over the coming months.
And, all I can think is that we don’t have time for all this division. Because of our situation, my perspective is so different. And, I wonder if it is possible to have this same perspective without the heartache.
I have prayed for years for God’s will to be done in our lives and in our family. I have begged Him to draw me closer and give me a heavenly perspective as I live this life. And, as I studied the Word, it seemed that most great men and women of God walked through terrible heartache before they really achieved that closeness with God. Jesus endured the most suffering, as our example.
So, I would pray, “God, bring me close. I’m willing to walk through anything you decide is necessary in order to achieve that closeness. But, I am asking you to spare me heartache and pain, if possible. If I don’t have to walk through Gethsemane in order to really know You, then I don’t want to. Teach me to know You without the trials. But, I’ll walk through the trials if that is required.”
I’m beginning to think that it is required. The trials are a necessary process for God to strip away the sin and filth in us. We are wretched people. We are fickle. We are selfish. We are lazy. We are ignorant. We are ungrateful.
So, tragedy strikes (in so many different ways) and we suddenly come to a place where God is literally our only hope, and everything changes. It really changes. It’s not just a simple prayer on a Sunday morning that says, “God, make me love you more.” It suddenly becomes a desperate plea for God to change you and save you and cleanse you and fill you. And, He does. Because He loves us. He does it.
Even though we are wretched and we don’t deserve anything He gives, He does it. And, when He does, our view of life and this world is completely changed.
Now, when I turn on the news, my heart is filled with compassion and sadness. The answer to every problem we see in our world right now is Jesus. He is the answer.
He is the answer to terrorism.
He is the answer to pornography that leads to sex trafficking.
He is the answer to racism that leads to violence and hate.
He is the answer to governments trying to take away religious freedoms.
He is the answer to our political crisis and the lack of leadership in our country and world.
Jesus is the answer. And, Jesus is LOVE. He is love. Not hate. If Jesus was here in Baton Rouge right now, I can assure you, he would not be spewing words of hate and disgust. He would be loving people. And that love would change the situation.
I was watching a live news feed of the cops trying to control a protest on a major highway in Baton Rouge last night. The cops were standing in a line, faces very solemn, only about a foot away from the protesters. The protesters were yelling in their faces. They were slandering them. They were screaming at them when they were just inches away from them. The cops were in full uniform and it was probably 97 degrees. The cops never said a word. They just stood there to keep peace and order.
Forget about which side you are on. And just think about how Jesus did the same thing for us. When He was hanging on that cross, or being tried by Pilot, people were right there screaming slander at Him. Yelling His name and calling for His death. People who saw the miracles He performed and the merciful things He did on the earth. Now, I am not in any way comparing those policemen to Jesus. I’m just telling you that when I was watching that unfold last night, it made me think of how the mob treated Jesus. And how He just stood there quietly. Never defending Himself. Never making excuses. Never yelling back when He had every right to do it.
Jesus came from Heaven to earth to solve all these problems for us. He came to put an end to these divisions. And He lives in His church today. If we know Him and surrender our lives to Him, He can use us to perform even greater miracles than He performed.
These problems that are filling our minds and our conversation, are a distraction. Satan wants nothing more than to see all of us completely distracted and consumed by this world.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away:but my words shall not pass away.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Read that twice. The cares of this life can distract us from watching for the end of this earth to come. They distract us from Jesus. They distract us from preparing ourselves to see Jesus. They distract us from the things that really matter.
That day shall come as a snare to those who DWELL on the face of the earth. This word really jumps out at me. DWELL.
Where do you dwell?
Do you dwell here on earth or does your heart dwell in heaven?
If we allow these circumstances in our world to overtake our thoughts, we will find ourselves wrapped up in the cares of this life and our hearts will begin to dwell here on the earth. We must focus on Jesus. We must keep our eyes on Heaven. We must live with a heavenly perspective so that our hearts long to be in Heaven with Jesus and our motivation here on earth is centered around our love for Him.
If we really live with one foot in Heaven and one foot on earth, how would our thoughts, words and actions change? How would we feel toward people who are hurting and protesting and protecting? How would we change?
Clay did not feel good yesterday. It was really the worst he has felt so far. I encouraged him to lay down for a nap while I was trying to do some things around the house. When I walked him upstairs, he just held my hand and asked me to stay with him. There were 1,000 things I needed to do in that moment, and, at first, I was hesitant. But, then I realized how ridiculous it would have been to do laundry rather than stay with him and provide a comfort he needed. So, I stayed. We laid there together for a while and I thought a lot about what it would be like if he wasn’t there. But, then the Holy Spirit comforted me by bringing my thoughts to Jesus.
The way Clay desired to be with me and be close to me, is an example of how Jesus longs to be with me. When the cares of this life are distracting me and calling me, Jesus is there just asking me to stop what I’m doing and stay with Him for a while. And, so many times, I choose to do laundry, rather than stay with Him. Imagine how much that hurts Him. When we choose the things we can see, rather than the things we can not see. Well, one day, soon, we will see. It will all make sense, and we will see how many times we allowed the distractions of this life to keep us from Him.
I pray today that we will all stay with Jesus. As He calls to us to stay and be close to Him, I pray we will choose Him over the cares of this life. I pray that we will not allow the issues of our world to distract us from Him. I pray that our hearts will dwell in Heaven with Jesus, and not here on this earth.