Several years ago, we got word that a lady in our former church had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She had been one of the merriest people I’d ever known. When we went back to that town for a visit, it was hard to see her in the church lobby looking confused and suspicious.
When our former pastor announced he had pancreatic cancer a few years ago, I was stunned that God would take someone in his prime with an active ministry and love for people who was doing so much good. Our pastor admitted he was going to have to take by faith that what God had for him in heaven was going to be so much better, because what he had on earth up til that time was pretty good.
I wondered why God would let one of His beloved children end up in pain or confusion.
But then I remembered this was not their end. Alzheimer’s and cancer were just stopping places in their long journey home. God promised that their sufferings would produce and eternal weight of glory.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
We get so caught up in the things we have to and want to do, our families, our ambitions, that we forget this world isn’t all there is.
We look forward to heaven . . . some day. But when we get there, we’ll probably wish we could have come sooner.
C. S. Lewis wrote to a friend of the unpleasant effects of aging: “the growing realisation that there were a great many things one wd. never have time to do,” studies one could never take up, facing retirement and “the infernal nuisance (to put it no higher) of patching up some sort of new life somewhere,” and so on. “I am therefore (with some help from the weather and rheumatism!) trying to profit by this new realisation of my mortality. To begin to die, to loosen a few of the tentacles which the octopus world has fastened on one.” He acknowledged that a good night’s sleep or a pleasant day would likely dispel his gloomy mood. But, he went on to say:
One ought not to need gloomy moments of life for beginning detachment, nor be reentangled by the bright ones. One ought to be able to enjoy the bright ones to the full and at that very moment have the perfect readiness to leave them, confident that what calls one away is better. . . (Letters of C. S. Lewis, October 15, 1949).
It was said of those in the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 that they desired “a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (verse 16).
I admit I am too caught up in the bright moments of this life. God kindly breaks in and turns my attention up and away to that world to come. “Eternal glories gleam afar . . .”
I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! All pow’r to Him is given,
To guard me on my onward course, and bring me safe to heaven.
The eternal glories gleam afar, to nerve my faint endeavor;
So now to watch, to work, to war, and then to rest forever.
James G. Small, “I’ve Found a Friend, O Such a Friend“
Easter speaks to me of many things—redemption, forgiveness, new life, and more. But this year it reminds me that this world and its pleasures and problems are temporary. We’re going to spend a lot more time in eternity than we did here. Are we ready?
Jesus came to earth as the Son of God, God in flesh. He lived a perfect life in our place because we never could. He died to take on the punishment for our sin so we wouldn’t have to. When we repent of our sin and believe on Him as Lord and Savior, His righteousness goes on our account: God sees Him instead of us.
Forgiveness of sin, His presence, His peace, his help, His grace—and heaven too!
Do you know Him? Are you ready for eternity?
(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Hearth and Soul, Scripture and a Snapshot, Senior Salon, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements, Recharge Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Share a Link Wednesday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire)
Beautifully said. Thank you
Thanks so much.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, as the old song says. Thank you for sharing this message.
I love that song and that thought!
I love everything about this! — the perspective that nothing in this world is our end, and that our sufferings produce eternal weights of glory — the idea that in heaven we’ll most likely wish we’d arrived sooner, the CS Lewis quotes — all of it. Thank you for this needed perspective today.
Thanks so much. I’m afraid I’m still caught up in this life enough not to want to leave it any time soon. But I know God will give grace whenever that happens, and I’ll be at peace on the other side.
We never know what trials will befall our loved ones or what we will learn from them. But learn, we do!
I hope I’ll always pay attention to what God is trying to teach me instead of clinging to what I think would be best.
Amen to that!
It’s so easy for eternity just to be an abstract idea and for us to live with our focus completely on this life. I love how Easter challenges us to look beyond the here-and-now to something even better.
I need those reminders frequently. I’m afraid I am too often caught up in the here and now.
Beautiful post, Barbara. The verses from 2 Corinthians always stop me in my tracks whenever I read them. We do tend to focus on the temporal. The earth and all of its people seem so solid, so enduring. These verses remind us to focus on the eternal. Easter does make us think of resurrection and revival. God’s plan for each one of us is eternal, not transient as our lives here in time are.
The older I get, the more transient this life seems–like a vapor, as the Bible says. I once saw a video where the speaker had a rope with a few inches wrapped in red tape at the end, and the rest of the rope trailed across and off stage. He said the taped part was our lives and the rest of the rope represented eternity. It was a good visual reminder.
A beautiful insight, Barbara: “But then I remembered this was not their end. Alzheimer’s and cancer were just stopping places in their long journey home.” I’m so thankful that my mother’s Alzheimer’s was only a stopping place. I love imagining her now fully healthy and of a sound mind again.
I think of Jim’s mom like that, too–fully functioning, able to speak and think clearly. It will be good to see her like that.
C.S. Lewis always manages to hit me squarely between the eyes! This is such timely truth, Barbara, in our live for the minute culture.
Me, too! We’re too much like the man with the muck rake in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, constantly looking down. I’m thankful for the frequent invitations to look up and beyond what’s at hand.
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Fine post and right what I needed to read today.
Thank you for your beautiful thoughts. I often struggle trying to understand my students because they don’t understand the life they live could be better. I’m sure God has the same thoughts about me and my attachments to this world!
Just this morning I stated to someone that we are all sojourners. We so need to remember this – we are just passing through, we’re on a journey. Easter always seems to be the time I am most reminded of this and I am grateful to be reminded!
Amen and Amen Barbara. So beautifully spoken. Blessings.
Aw, Barbara … what a blessing to read this today. My mom died on Good Friday two years ago. Today isn’t the actual date she died, but her homegoing will forever be intertwined with Good Friday in my mind. She had Alzheimer’s, and that Easter it gave me such comfort to think of her in heaven, fully restored to the woman God always intended her to be. I can’t wait to meet that version of her when I get there! Happy Easter, my friend.
As always, a beautiful post! As I look forward to turning 60, I too, long for a “better country.” Maybe our aches and pains are God’s way of reminding us that this world is not our home?! This line really jumped out at me: ” Alzheimer’s and cancer were just stopping places in their long journey home. God promised that their sufferings would produce and eternal weight of glory.” Yes, we are just at stopping places on our long journey home. Amen! Have a joyous Easter!
ps. I have you highlighted as a blog I follow after some long overdue spring cleaning 🙂
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