Heaven is for real…and so is pain and suffering.

Image

Yesterday I blogged a bit about not living completely in the Christian-ecosystem that sometimes is known as the “Bubble”.  

Today…

I would like to explore what people are saying about Heaven as well as pain (even if the pain isn’t even spoken about).  

What are people saying about life after death?  

Image

 

 

 

As a Christian living in this world I recognize that to me this life is a gift…but that doesn’t always mean there isn’t pain and difficulties along the way.  Life is not just about the destination but also about the journey.  

QUESTIONS ABOUT SUFFERING 

Sometimes the journey is painful.

Why do some people endure more pain than others?  
Why is there suffering in this world? 

I understand that suffering and pain is a part of our fallen world but to me that answer sometimes just isn’t good enough…I want more.  I yearn to get to the bottom of this whole pain thing.  Isn’t that why some doctors feel called to their practice in the first place?  They want to help ease the pain in this life?  Isn’t there relief in sight?  Sometimes I look around me and am staggered by friends who have lost parents and other loved ones through the blight of cancer and other terminal diseases.  

Image

It hurts my heart to see servants of God, who deeply love God and serve Him and yet they are afflicted with these cancers that eat away and ravage the body.  I often ask “Why God?”  

When I think of the verse that Jesus said (even within the context of loving your enemies) – “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” I recognize that God is fair and just in this world.  I also recognize that the fallen nature of this world is the ultimate cancer that ravages our world.  The rains can, and some times do, include times of emotional and physical drought for the sinner and the saint.  The rains can include times of healing and times of sickness…and even death.  

Although I know this to be true, can I be honest with you?  It doesn’t do much to ease my hurt when I see friends hurting.  I hurt right along with them as they suffer…but as a Christian I do know that there is ultimate healing and that death is not the end.  

What other people are saying…

 

Image
Last night I asked friends of mine a question.  The question was -” who else do you long to see in heaven besides Jesus?
Their answers ranged from grand parents, spouses, relatives and friends and even children that some had lost.
Even though we have this hope and assurance of Eternity with Christ we still endure hardships and sufferings.  Life is not easy and we still carry these wounds of those loved ones we have lost along with us.  Sometimes their memories comfort us while other times they help us to endure through rough patches we ourselves are going through.  

BUT HEAVEN IS FOR REAL…RIGHT NOW!:

Image

 

Here’s a revelation, perhaps you already know this – We don’t have to wait for heaven to get here to experience God’s Kingdom now! 
 Luke 17:20b-21 (NIV) Jesus said, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God  is in your midst [or,within you].”

Jesus experienced suffering in His very human life.  He was hurt by betrayal, but abandonment and He even suffered the worst of deaths.  I think it is safe to say that Jesus knows a little bit about human suffering and what we go through still today.  Despite the fact that suffering exists here’s a source of hope for you and for me:  The Kingdom of God is here and now!  Jesus may have been implying the He was the Kingdom in physical form and though He isn’t physically here His Presence in the form the Holy Spirit is.  We are not alone in this world…we never were.  God’s Kingdom is among us still.  Eternity is around us…we just haven’t recognized it yet. 

It is true that when we die we will see Eternity in all of its glory, but we do not need to wait for that day to experience God’s presence every day!  His presence is the essence of eternity and despite the sufferings of these human forms and the fallen world we live in, He can provide us the victory through it all!  This may be difficult to swallow for some of us…I still struggle with it myself, but I do believe despite pain and suffering God is very present with us right here and right now!  

Heaven is for real, so is pain and suffering, BUT the Almighty is also very, very real as well!  

-Just a thought.  

 

Steadfast Roots or upended by the wind?

Image

 

 

 

Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

It is a sunny day today, a sort of resplendent day that makes one long that each and every day would remain just like this one.  It is a spring day, still turbulent in the unpredictable nature of the weather…the wind is gusting as it normally does in late April in the Western hemisphere.  The temperature will undoubtedly drop this evening as the teasing warmth of the sun will drop below the horizon and we will find our wind breakers, which have now replaced our winter downs who are hanging lonely and longingly in the back of the dark closet once again.

Sitting in the sun shine, for even but a moment, one can hear the louder than whisperings of the Nor-Easter winds as they wrap themselves intimately, sometimes violently around the tall jack pine and the juniper trees that huddle together in our mini ecosystem that is our backyard.   On one brief moment it even appears as if the tall jack pine might succumb to the wind’s wrestling match, as a strong gust threatens to topple its long presence of standing at attention.  The branches, bending unnaturally, any moment a cracking sound might emanate giving credence to perishing callings of the wind.  Yet, no terminal sounds occur, the pine has survived this round unscathed…still standing tall.

As a lowly house cat suns herself on the back porch, the trees hold fast.  After all, they have stood the test of time…thus far.  Their roots, deeply planted, grounded and stretching out like unseen tendrils beneath the still cold and damp earth of spring.  A test to its created design, nourished and prepared for whatever the winds, changing and constant, can throw their way.

Watching such a witness of God’s grandeur, one begins to see the depth of wisdom forged within man as we too face winds of change, speaking much louder than a whisper to our human existence, beckoning us to succumb to its force and pressure.  How deep do our roots descend?  Like the conifers in their stately display, do our roots spread out like fingers spidering their way deeply beneath the rich earth?  Are we grounded in the fertile and fortified soil?  Will we stand the test of time?  It all culminates in this epic survival and constant journey.  A Creator longing for his creation to remain steadfast, deeply rooted and unafraid of that which seeks to upend and destroy.

Why be unafraid?  One might ask.  Our courage isn’t found from within but from without.  A God who richly loves, boldly equips and fiercely defends.  Our courage, our longevity and sustaining grace comes from Him…if we allow Him to do so.  Then, we too with roots deep within our Father in Heaven, will never be shaken, never be broken and forever be defended by the Creator of all things.

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

 

Image

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑