due date longings…

September 14th has come and almost left. I can’t say I am surprised, but I can’t say I am not disappointed either. Everyday I am anxious not knowing when he will come…sometimes I don’t really believe he will EVER come! It is hard to keep myself busy, comfortable, and calm. I am not afraid of the roller coaster (labor), I just want to get on it! You know what I mean?!

All of this not knowing, reminds me of Jesus’ promise that he WILL come, but no one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). As I am completely consumed with thoughts about Baby Jack’s arrival, I pray that I would have an even GREATER preoccupation with the return of Christ. Romans 8:18-25 even compares our longing for the revelation of Jesus to that of a laboring women. Wouldn’t our lives look so different if we waited with the same kind of eager expectation for the kingdom of God, groaning inwardly for our redemption?

Just some thoughts as I enter into week 41.

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death has lost its sting.

The past few days I’ve spent with Abbi, Faith, Mrs. Smith, Christie, Kevin, Jared, Nate, and countless springboro kids and family lamenting and celebrating Mr. Smith. It has been such a beautiful reminder of our hope in Christ and our calling to lead others to that hope during our time here.

Mike was like a spiritual father to many of us. He and Kristi brought me into their family as a sister and daughter and shepherded me as their own. In the past couple years we have all spent time in their home, we have not only gotten countless words of counsel and truth (crazy I just came upon this post from last year!), but a model for our future marriages, families, and life following Christ. Mr. Smith passed off the torch to a legacy of guys who are now godly men. He gave Abbi and Faith rich soil to receive Christ and the life tools to “put in their backpack” now that they are ready to make their own decisions. He wasn’t ashamed to show affection and speak words of adoration to his bride in front of us and he showed us what it looked like to have a healthy, loving marriage. The love he has given to his 3 girls and extended to us gave us the clearest picture of the Father. And the number of men that showed up today whom he spent years witnessing to gives me confidence that many will be saved through his creed and selfless love. He made all of us want to be conformed into the image of Jesus.

As Sojourn sings, We come to preach the Savior’s name and triumph in His blood! With joy we tell the scoffing age, “He raised and left His tomb!” And this is our hope in the gospel! As Christians, we not only die a death like Jesus when we crucify our old life and live for Him, but we will be raised as He was raised! (2 Corinthians 15) We long to be at home with the Lord, as Mr. Smith is now in glory (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).

And so as Mike cheered to Abbi as she jogged, only hours before he left to be with Jesus, he would yell out to us: “You’re looking strong! Keep running!”

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Sojourners

On Friday, I got to spend so time with  Mr. & Mrs. Smith and learn from their wisdom and love for the Lord. So. Refreshing.

Mike was talking about camping and how the reason he loves camping so much is because it is such a beautiful picture of the already-but-not-yet-tension: we are not of this world because we are sons and daughters of God and co-heirs with Christ for the Kingdom, but we still live in the world of sin. We know we are awaiting a house, but for now live in a tent. Jesus describes it like this when he prays,

“15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17).

It says of those who have gone before us in faith that they viewed themselves as exiles and strangers on Earth. They kept their eyes heavenward as they knew they had a homeland and a better country awaiting them in the Kingdom of God.

13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire 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.” (Hebrews 11)

All of this reminded me of 2 Corinthians 5:

1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

I left longing to be with Jesus- Longing to not only have the Spirit sustaining me, but to be further clothed with a new body that will last forever in the presence of God. I long for the mortal to be swallowed up by life; for death and sin to not only lose their power and sting, but be put away forever. We are sojourners, living in our tents that are uncomfortable and burdensome, knowing in our souls were made for another country. And that country is going to be so good! Lately I’ve been thinking about how the reason I struggle and fight to give up idols is because I just really don’t believe that Heaven and living forever in the presence of Jesus is all that it’s cracked up to be. I still believe that I have to make my “best life now.” What I’m really trying to do is have the most comfortable tent I can because WHAT IF  heaven isn’t that great and then I wasted my time here?!  Isn’t that a ridiculous thought? But if we are honest, this is why we are so easily discontent when people or things let us down and don’t satisfy us the way we want them to. Someday when I am standing before God, face-to-face, beholding his glory for all that it is, I am going to look back on my earthly life and shake my head in disbelief at how concerned I was about my tent-life.

Lord open my eyes to your glory! Keep them heavenward. Remind me that to die is gain, but to live is Christ! I am a sojourner, true, but my life is in you. I am here to proclaim the gospel, bring light into darkness, and prepare the way for your kingdom in the good works that you have prepared for me. What a high calling!…. but Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus! We long for you.