Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pondering Home.

Good news, we sold our house!

This has been both a celebration and a source of stress. As I’m doing my best to trust God’s plans and stay a little distracted, I’ve found myself dissecting my thoughts. I keep wondering why this feels so hard. Is it just because it’s change? Or because we are unsure what city we’ll actually be moving to? I think there’s an eternal current under all of this, which can be a powerful reminder of hope and stability if I can keep it in mind. 

As I stood in my kitchen one morning, looking at my lovely countertops, I felt sad that I would no longer be standing right there, fixing coffee or cereal or smoothies in the mornings. Someone else will be there, with their decor, their stuff, their routines. I’m not typically very sentimental about physical objects or places, so I just kept on thinking, trying to figure out where these intense feelings of loss were coming from.

While looking at 20+ houses over the last few weeks, while in homes that we liked (or even loved) I envisioned myself there, saw what my kids would be doing, or planned out what kinds of parties and events we would be having there. It was easy, and I didn’t think twice about not being in our current home. The sadness was dissipated, replaced by my excitement, adding a little anxiety about my to-do list, and awakening a hope for new memories and adventures.

You see, when there is some sort of “next”, we can at least guess about what will happen, and when we can rely on at least parts of it being good, we can leave despair behind and move forward with less fear. Without a “next”, we can only look on what was, leaving too much room for a giant hole of nothingness, impossible to fill with any real situation. Some of us are better at daydreaming that others, but sooner or later that daydream is shattered and we will be left looking for a place to rest where there is only a question mark.

In case you haven't tried it, resting in a question mark is impossible. Apart from trusting in God, you either cannot do it or you fool yourself and are actually trusting in something else. It’s like standing. You either stand somewhere or you don’t. If you are not standing, you are sitting, lying down, or moving in some sort of direction. So when your house sells, and you have not one single idea where you will be in 45 days, it’s like standing, but with no floor. The same feeling of falling will sometimes flutter in my chest as I think about how unknown all of this is, but that’s where God’s promises have kept me from despair, from questioning more than I should, or worrying when I should be sleeping.

I may not know what happens next, but I know what happens last. Someday, I will never have to worry about where I will live. Actually, I don’t even have to worry now, but it’s hard to stop thinking about everything that is going on in my life today. When I really consider the promise of having my eternity taken care of, my sin not holding me back, and my circumstances never being insurmountable or frightening, my breathing becomes slow, deep, and full of peace. My cares about the size of the kitchen, the state of the bathroom sink, or how much painting I will be doing seem more like exciting gifts and less like reasons to be crabby.

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter where I will be in 45 days or 45 years. Many people look only to what they will gain during their life on earth, but ignoring impending death does not ensure life. It scares me to see how many friends of mine think life just ends, or if they don’t really believe that, they don’t think or talk about what will happen the day they die.

Just like I’m not disappearing from my house into nothing, your soul does not just disappear into nothing. I am going somewhere else. Your soul is going somewhere else. Do you know where? Do you care? Do you want to be sure?

It’s difficult for me not to obsess and cry and despair over these thoughts, about the loss of life that will occur at the end of your flesh, at the end of so many people’s time on earth. It is the promise of my soul going somewhere more delightful than my favorite daydream, more perfect than my best day, that enables me to function in all the unknown. I can sell my house and know that even in the worst-case-scenario, I’ll still be fine. Not because of my resilience, or my circumstance, or any kind of special blessing, but because Jesus has taken care of everything for me. He did it before I knew I would need it, before I was willing to admit I needed it. And He gives me glimpses every day of the fulfilling joy I will obtain when every earthly fear is shattered forever.

So there you have it, part of my brain on paper, I mean, computer ;) And now you know my struggle these days. Looking, hoping, being tempted to despair and being reminded again of God’s promise for me: a place with Him in eternity. If that is not glorious to us, the problem lies in our hearts, not in the value of Him. And if you don’t know what will happen when you die, I beg you to start thinking. Please don’t despair, but don’t be fooled into thinking a good life on earth is all there is to hope for. I may seem busy and in the midst of moving, but I am not too busy to talk about eternity… I could do that forever. So think away, ask away, and start searching for eternal peace instead of temporary happiness.

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