Suffering and Heaven

18920650_10158894564500074_8516742202078951748_nYesterday I took just Gabe out shopping.  I don’t often get to spend alone time with him and I was reminded what an amazing kid he is.  He has such a tender soul.  He wants to run an orphanage when he grows up… but he also wants to drive a Ferrari, so… 😉

We had a fun time, just the two of us.  On the way home he kept asking me about Heaven and what it’ll be like when Jesus comes back.

I explained to him that Jesus will appear in the sky with great glory, riding the clouds.  That every eye will see him, even those that pierced him.  That we will rise to meet him and be changed, to be like him.  That there will be no more sickness, death, pain…

I got choked up and so did he.  He said, “Mom, I can see him coming.”  I said, “honey that’s the Holy Spirit showing you that it’s true.”

You see, just the day before he had been in a lot of pain.  In between tears and sobs he had asked, “if God loves me, why am I suffering so much?”

The conversation, and the sweet presence of God, was something we both desperately needed.  Something that I need more of.

In my own suffering I tend to turn away.  I feel like I can’t take anymore disappointment at times, without losing hold of my faith.  But yesterday, it was like He peeled back the curtain obscuring eternity and gave us both a glimpse of our future and the end of suffering.  I felt a glimpse of the eternity and wonder awaiting us, and looking over at Gabe’s tear-filled eyes, I know he did too.

I know that Gabriel is being molded in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend.  I know he has a huge call on his life.  Even at the age of 8, there is a level of tenderness, empathy and hunger for knowledge of God that is amazing…. probably as the result of all the suffering he’s had to endure.

We can got lost in the hardships we face but we need to remember that life here is short and eternity is long.  We can’t choose the trials but we can choose how we face them.  Our God loves us.

 

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Our Only Hope

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/healthy-24-year-old-granted-right-to-die-in-belgium/ar-AAckxLg?ocid=iehp

I remember watching a video clip of a prison in South America that would take and rehabilitate the worst prisoners- the ones that no one else wanted.  The prison was completely Gospel-centered.  A sign over the entrance read, in Spanish- “Jesus Christ Our Only Hope”.

That saying has stuck with me.  Jesus is our only hope.  Nothing else can suffice, nothing else can save.  When every other option fails, when the anti-depressants don’t work, when life is just too much, when you want to go to sleep and not wake up… Jesus Christ is our only hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

We serve the God of HOPE. 

I know what it is like to be horribly depressed.  I know what it is like to be suicidal.  I also know that the Gospel is real and it is possible to trade in sorrow for JOY.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy…” 1 Peter 1:8

I really believe sorrow, heart ache, and life’s difficulties can be a gift leads us to finding Jesus and everlasting life.

In Godless Europe, specifically Belgium, when people lose hope the best the government/health care system can offer is- the right to die.  People have tried to take God out of the equation and replace him with government, science, psychology, etc.  But the human soul still has this gaping (God-sized) emptiness that refuses to be filled or satisfied with anything but the living God himself.  When we try to fix depression as a mental, physical, or emotional problem we fall short.  We are not animals.  We are spiritual beings that happen to reside in a body.  Spiritual beings that were created for experiencing love and fellowship with our creator.  It makes sense that if we are completely missing the point of our existence that a deep depression would result.

Not only are we spiritual (even the staunchest atheist) but we are eternal beings.  When the body dies the soul leaves and goes to it’s eternal destination.  “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:15  I don’t want to flippant or callous.  The tragedy is that people think their suffering is going to end by choosing ‘the right to die’.  It is beyond tragic.  It is completely unnecessary.

Putting your trust in Jesus does not ‘fix’ all your problems.  But the peace and joy is real.  You can know where you are going after death.  You can know there is nothing to fear.  You can know you are loved. god-of-hope

I see my depression as a parameter around my life, it is a safeguard.  When I start to drift away from God or allow something to come between us, the depression starts creeping back in.  When I am living for Him, in close fellowship, I am being continuously filled with joy.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11

“Lord Jesus, my prayer is that when people come to the end of themselves that they would find you.  When people find that nothing on Earth can help, let them turn to you.  I pray that you would reveal yourself to those contemplating suicide.  I pray that you would deliver with your mighty out-stretched arm.  I pray for a revival of faith in Europe.  Amen.”