With my dad so recently residing in the presence of God, I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven. Trying to figure out what it means, this “going away” or “falling asleep” or “departing”. All of a sudden I want to know:
What is he doing?
Can he see me?
Who else is there?
What would he say to me if he could?
And then this morning my time set apart for listening in God’s Word took me from Colossians 1v1-6 to I Thessalonians 5v8.
Paul is commending his Colossian friends for their faith in God and for their obvious love for “all God’s people everywhere”. Which, he says, “spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven”…
The words strike me.
Faith springs from hope? Hope in heaven?
Truth is, my faith seems so shaky as I worry my way through everyday life.
Do we have enough savings? Can I write the Intentional Parents book adequately or will I fail? Do I have time for everything I think I need to do? Is Mom going to be okay? How can I help her? How in the world am I going to find a home for their dog, Barney?!
And my love for “all God’s people everywhere” is more like a love for a few of God’s people right here as long as they’re nice to me.
How, I ask Him, did these people become people of great faith and generous love?
And how can I?
And how does hope in heaven have anything to do with my todays?
I stumble on the answer found tucked at the end of a sentence in I Thessalonians 5v8:
“… let us put on… the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
It dawns on me suddenly, this helmet metaphor: A helmet protects my head.
By purposely putting on hope- not just any hope, but hope in salvation, in forever, in what all of life is leading up to—I actually protect my mind from wrong thinking that leads to worry.
Wrong thinking which creates fertile ground for fretting and frustration when all of life isn’t neat and tidy, just the way I like it.
Wrong thinking that convinces me God owes me more… more money, more time, more ease.
Wrong thinking that makes me self-protective and prickly with people who poke at me, or who express their disapproval of the way I do life.
I need this helmet!
Because without one I wind up with a sort of spiritual concussion, with ringing in my ears that drowns out the sound of God in my soul.
And so this morning I purposely put on my helmet of hope.
I imagine the way life will be when a new earth replaces this one and God invites me to take part in life as He meant it to be.
I think beyond the deadline that weighs heavily on my day, to the coming day when my life begins again.
I choose to remember what I’m really about: Jesus and His kingdom, His work, His will, His way.
And suddenly everything changes. Hope fuses me with energy to complete the tasks assigned to this day, to do what needs doing while I look for signs of His coming— for signs of Him.
Those blossoms on the tulip tree out back remind me that He is unfolding this day and that beauty comes not from striving but from resting in His working.
Hope rises to turn my tasks into joyous work, to infuse my day with purpose. It won’t always be this hard, Someday is coming.
And in the meantime I’d better scurry because He’s called me to things that will last forever. And I’d better look closely at my lists lest I waste time on things that don’t matter in light of that Someday.
He beckons me towards giving and serving and worshipping and listening close to His words to me. He invites me to protect my mind by keeping Someday in sight.
And my dad is there. He’s stepped into the Someday that lasts forever.
See you there, Dad! Someday.
From my heart,
P.S. I’ll resume my letters to Matt and Simona about OUR HOUSE soon. For now I’m just letting you in on my mourning. Thank you for your beautiful messages of condolence to me. Your kindness soothes my soul.