Surprised (1,166)

June 3rd, 2011

The human race … no one finishes it standing.

That’s a powerful thought. It also makes you wonder. We’ve been told for so many years that God loves us. Well, if He loves us so much, why is He bound and determined to kill us? I’m sorry—sometimes that’s just the way it feels.

Now, religion tells me that the reason for our demise is so that we might enter a portal and cross a great river to a promised land which is much better than our present existence. I have no objection to that. I am not disagreeable to the concept. But there is an instinct in my human thinking to contend that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. In other words, breathing now feels much better than losing breath, even to gain eternal life.

Some people say they’re not frightened of death. Of course, that’s much more easily stated when you’re vertical, with a bit of color in your cheeks. Having been on the brink of death, I would not describe my feelings as fearful—rather an itching wonder which I just didn’t seem to be able to scratch. What is this heaven that people talk about?

I tuned in a television show the other day and some preacher was talking about what heaven was going to be like. After a few minutes I grew disgusted and threw a dirty sock at the screen. For after all, no one knows. The Bible says “eye hath not seen nor ear heard what God has prepared.” I guess that would include everybody, right?

Being human, I have fleeting doubts about whether anything goes on after my death bed departure. Don’t you think there is a bit of arrogance in thinking that we mere mortals have any cosmic possibilities beyond earthly time? But it is intriguing.

All we do know is that one day we will depart this body of flesh. For some people, that’s enough to know, so they just kind of struggle, grunt and groan, tolerating their particular allotment of time so that one day they might live forever with Jesus. That just makes me fussy—because when Jesus describes the greeting we will receive when we get to the other side, he says it begins with a salutation of, “Well done.” Am I to assume from that that my doings are being reviewed and considered? I think so.

So before I leave this body of flesh, I’d like to leave three other bodies behind: a body of life, a body of love and a body of work.

· My body of life consists of the talents I have been given—making sure that I multiply them to the benefit of myself and others.

· My body of love is to take the people who come my way and enrich their journeys, encourage their dreams and lighten their loads.

· My body of work is to make sure that the gifts and the people I encounter link together—to bear fruit that is evident long after I exit stage right.

Let me tell you a story. A courtly gentleman came to my table last night in Ottawa, Illinois. He had tears in his eyes. He told me that one of my stories had particularly touched him because he had a daughter who had gone through a season of struggle in her teen years, but had found herself and was now a missionary in Ethiopia. He was so proud of her, missed her, wished she was here and was glad she wasn’t—all at the same time. It was so beautiful.

I looked at him and realized that he had a body of life. He had taken his talents and multiplied them through the life of this other precious vessel, who was now multiplying her own talents to the benefit of the needy.

He also possessed a body of love. He had prayed for her with no particular prospect of prosperity—but kept up the vigil anyway, waiting for the miracle.

Now he had a body of work—that delicious realization that there was fruit being born through his life and love, and even though he yearned to spend more time with his daughter, he admired her for pursuing her dreams.

He had it all. His tears were not sadness, but the spiritual mingling of joy and longing.

I don’t know what happens when we die. But I do know this—it will be a surprise.

It reminds me of the little boy who was promised a trip to Disney World, woke up and looked out his window and saw that it was pouring rain. He was depressed and began to cry into his pillow. His father entered the room and asked him what was wrong. So distressed that he couldn’t speak, he merely pointed out the window at the pelting rain. The father gradually realized what the problem was, gave the boy a big hug and pulled him to his feet.

“I guess you didn’t know—Disney World is under a dome so you can play night and day, rain or shine.” The little boy rejoiced.

You see, that’s what the afterlife is to me. Even though Disney World is NOT under a dome, heaven would be. You see, I think I know what God has planned, but it won’t be that at all.

God has many tricks up His sleeve . . . even though He really doesn’t wear a long, white robe.

Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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