presented as a devotion at a homeschool meeting by my friend Leslie, who has so graciously supported Rachael & I & our families with prayer & food & service over the past year.
To do the devotion that I had started out with would have confirmed the ADD diagnosis my husband made for me years ago. Therefore, I sought to define, refine and focus. With great effort, I might add. The Lord actually gave me a clearer vision one afternoon as I was cleaning out a cabinet. Yes, Beth, I did get rid of something in my house!! As I was sorting through old picture frames, magazines and letters, I came across some of my retired prayer journals. Now, this is why cleaning out closets and cabinets is so difficult for me. At this point all cleaning ceased and I sat down on the floor to pour over prayer requests and answers, soul – bearing longings and fears, dreams and musings, humble murmurings from a simple heart to the King of the Universe. It was in those pages that I found something that stirred within me the renewal of a deep conviction that in order to survive in this world I must keep my eyes on the next. I must nurture and foster an eternal perspective.
I was both challenged and encouraged as I contemplated the past twelve months and the new school year; the final one in our home.
On the pages of that journal, in numerous entries in fact and for many years, was a specific petition on behalf of one of our children – an extremely bright and gifted child whose behavior has saddened our hearts for several years. This request has been repeated over and over, as recently as a week earlier. And, yet this past school year brought even more grief and concern, the greatest we had experienced. Why wouldn’t this storm pass and our request be granted? Also this year it be came very clear that some life changing decisions would need to be made for my sweet and gentle mother who can no longer tell you exactly how many children she has. And, this year my dear father, my dad who exemplified parental love and sacrifice to me crossed that river and slipped into eternity an hour before I could reach his side.
I share these not to show the uniqueness of my experiences, but quite the opposite. As I look out at you all, I can’t think of any who struggles with a wayward child, but I know some do. I also know that many of have borne the pain of losing a parent, or you will soon. And, you will probably have to seek wisdom as you provide care for an aging or incapacitated loved one. It is surely in this time that we must look beyond this life and trust in the God who designed an eternity of perfection for us. It is in this promise of eternal redemption from the pain of this world that we hope. Do you know what? This pain need not be great to prompt us to look heavenward. What about a broken down car? Or the crushed expectations over the performance of a child in his school work? Or, how about the day that school just does not work at all? A burnt or non - existent dinner? The friend who neglects you? It can be the mundane trials of life that steal our joy and shatter our contentment. As you alter you own thinking, seize the moment of your child’s disappointment, frustration or loss and point him to an eternal perspective. We must remind ourselves that there are only two things from this world that will last into eternity: The Word of God and the souls of men. Take time to invest in that which is eternal and weigh all of life’s burdens against the eternal standard. Maybe memorize the AWANA verses with your child. And, invest in the eternity of two souls by taking your child with you to share the gospel with a lost neighbor or friend.
You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
In John 16, Jesus offers the power to endure life’s storms:
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you *will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
In Habakuk. 3:17-19 we find:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls –
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Peggy Noonan, speech - writer for President Reagan, recognized the effect a lack of an eternal perspective has on a generation when she wrote,
“If we have it so good why aren’t we happy?”
She stated, “We weren’t put here to be happy. Our ancestors believed in two worlds and understood this to be the ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’ one.” She knows that faith in God brings satisfaction because the next life will make up for the suffering in this one.
CS Lewis sums it up this way:
"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world"
Let me close with the words of a hymn by Stuart Hamblen,
“My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward.
This troubled world is not my final home.
The things of earth will dim and lose their value,
If we recall, they’re borrowed for awhile;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there, will only bring a smile.
This weary world with all its toil and struggle
May take its toll of misery and strife;
The soul of man is like a waiting falcon –
When it’s released, it’s destined for the skies.
But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on –
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.”