Smile at Eternity

[Edit 11/07/08]

As I read, I find more and more to further what I wrote below a couple weeks ago. All of my comments were, of course, pre-election in the United States. What do I think of Obama? What do I think about Prop 8 (California)? My point all along was that it's not about the people or the propositions -- it's about a group (a remnant people) that has always broken away from the world (first, the remnant in Israel and now the church today) and followed, trusted, and hoped in God. Can you look at your life and say, "I am apart of that remnant." Or, like so many church-goers, are you getting worried now that evil is showing it's face in the world? The bible warned against that so many times. Here is just one, in Ephesians 5:15-21:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

There was a common theme in the New Testament writers' books and letters that evil will be present in the world. The church is to follow Christ in spite of that. The church is to declare him to all nations in spite of that. The church is to have hope in Christ's return in spite of that. The church is to long for heaven because of that. In Ephesians, Paul is making a clear distinction between the days being evil and making the best use of our time. He's saying, "Look, the days are going to be evil. We know that. But you, church, make the best use of your time." What does it look like to make the best use of our time in Paul's eyes? He ended up in chains, preaching the gospel to jailers. He considered that a joy because it advanced the gospel better than him not being in chains.

[Original Post 10/18/08]

C.S. Lewis says it so beautifully when he suggests:
The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with out friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

Our Lord, with a similar message, confused Pilate:
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

The world is waiting to see a group of Christians whose lives are in keeping with what they say with their mouths they believe. We say we believe in a Saviour who came to serve and get nothing in return, and yet we decide to fight for political issues. We say our hope is in God alone -- yet the world sees us worry, just like they do, about which candidates will be "in control" of our country.

I can be optimistic, not because of a man elected to office or a bill that does or doesn't get voted in. No. I can be optimistic because, while the world and many "Christians" are fighting for, worrying about, and trusting in candidates, bills, and economies, I have my eyes set on heaven where God reigns. He is letting evil run wild for a time. But, as Lewis so wonderfully reminds me, this is so that I long to be in heaven with Him.

Don't settle for the futile strivings of this world. Keep your bags packed. You're just visiting. You never belonged here.

I'm going home.

Never Forget You

Lord, give me what I need to survive today. Don't give me too much lest I forget about You and think I received it on my own.


(Proverbs 30:8-9)