The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21,
“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
I can in no way claim to be anything like the Apostle Paul, but I can relate to his statement – if not in whole, then in part.
For me, to live is to care for Gracen, and I desperately want to be there for Gracen, but to die . . . to die is gain.
In our day and age, no one wants to hear that sentiment expressed. Maybe it makes people fearful that I might harm myself, but I wonder if maybe it is more about an individual’s fear that at some point in their life, they might find they desire death over life.
I have an eternal hope.
Death is not something I personally fear.
And neither did the Apostle Paul.
And if . . . if God’s purpose for the latter part of my life is to care for Gracen . . . if that is my ministry and service for Christ, then am I not, in effect saying just as the Apostle Paul did, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”?
Is it spiritual to laud his statement and rebuke mine?
If we as Christians are to be Heavenly minded, is it wrong to long for our eternal home?
Is it wrong to desire Heaven more than we desire this temporary world we currently reside in?
Do we unconsciously believe Paul’s ministry, the ministry of evangelism, is the pursuit of Christ and His desires, whereas ministry to the members of our family or the sick really doesn’t equate to living for Christ?
Is that why my longing for my eternal home is met with admonitions that I must have hope? That it is wrong for me to desire the rapture in order to escape these earthly sorrows?
Is that really wrong?
Does my motivation somehow make my desire impure?
Does God care why I desire Heaven or just that I do?
Does not a longing for my eternal home reflect the deepest trust that I, in fact, have an eternal home waiting for me?
Does it not reflect true faith?
And should I lose it all—should I lose both David & Gracen—what, if anything, would be capable of anchoring my broken heart to this earthly prison?
I know what the answer to that last question should be. I certainly don’t need anyone to educate me with the “correct” response. But what “should be” and “what is” are often two different things. I know that my mind and my emotions will not agree if my worst fears are realized. I know they won’t. They don’t now.
These are questions I ask myself.
Maybe that last question is the reason people so adamantly attempt to cram the necessity of hope down my throat.
Maybe that’s their secret fear too.
Maybe no one knows what would hold enough sway in their individual lives to anchor their souls to this world if they lost everything they value most in this world.
Maybe—God help us all—maybe there is nothing strong enough to do that for any of us.
Maybe that’s where the Holy Spirit steps in and performs a supernatural work in our hearts that enables us to receive God’s all sufficient grace instead of rejecting it in our agony . . . instead of taking action outside of the will of God due to complete despair and utter desperation.
These are thoughts I ponder.
I’d love to know how you answer these questions—if you think these same thoughts.
September 10, 2016 at 2:01 am
I think these longings are universal. Why am I here and not There? It may sound simplistic, but I default that if I am not in my eternal home then there must be something to do here.
Thank you Janet. I wish I could write more coherently but it is 2:00 in the morning.
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 10, 2016 at 2:52 am
I think you’re extremely coherent even if it was 2:00 a.m.; but I’ll be brief because it’s now 2:51 a.m.!
September 10, 2016 at 4:42 am
I could probably write a (short) book on the topics you touched in this post. I think that God intends for people to be what holds us to this earthly home. From the beginning He said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” And Paul was tied to here because he longed to take more souls with him to heaven, not because life was so great.
I also believe strongly in the value and genuine calling of a mother and/or father to ministry within their family. We are made to love and loving our children and spouse is a strong, strong love.
Yes, as believers we love Christ. But do we love Him less if we want to be rid of this awful agony and join him sooner rather than later? We are to long for His returning…yet if we take it too seriously, like you noted, people begin to worry about us.
I think sometimes God gives bereaved parents and others who have suffered great loss a vision of how to use that experience to do good and to give purpose to the remainder of their days. But just as we know not every parent is asked to walk this hard, hard road of burying a child, not every bereaved parent is given a broader vision.
So I’m with you: Come quickly! Lord Jesus! But I am also trying to remain in the fire, to continue to offer my body as a living sacrifice and to remain open to if or when God whispers some way to keep me here besides my living children and husband.
That has been my ministry for decades and I don’t see a new one on the horizon. So, I’m ready…
LikeLiked by 2 people
September 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm
I’m still raising children Janet so this is my primary focus Janet, but I definitely understand where you are coming from. ❤️
September 12, 2016 at 5:42 pm
Yes, raising other children makes a difference. I had that experience following the death of my son. I’m glad you have more children to focus your attention on, to give you a more hopeful outlook and to love. I wouldn’t wish for anything different for you, or anyone else grieving the death of a child. Sophocles said, “Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” There’s certainly a lot of truth, in that statement!
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 13, 2016 at 1:20 am
Wow I haven’t heard that quote before – it’s a good one. Well, good for those to whom it applies, that is!
LikeLiked by 1 person