Only the Beginning

     This past week I turned fifty-one.  Just want you to know that when I was a child I thought I would probably only live to be forty because at the time forty sounded really old to me.The day wasn’t an especially great one.  Just the day before, Ben, our son, had his gall bladder removed and I was on nursing duty for the week.  Oh well, I am too old for a princess birthday party anyway!  I did, however, have some great cards to open and calls from family and friends.  But still, I was just feeling old and not very special. 
     While Ben was sleeping that afternoon, I decided to sit on the patio and enjoy the sunshine.  As I sat there taking in the budding trees and singing birds, a movement caught my eye.  As I turned to look, I saw it.  It was a butterfly, the first one I had seen since the fall!  I felt a smile spreading over my face, and , of course, ran to get my camera.  I didn’t manage to get the best picture, but I snapped a few.  Then I thanked God for the birthday present He had sent me.  God knows what I love, two of them being butterflies and photography, and He sent me opportunities to enjoy both on my birthday. Suddenly, I felt very special that the God of the universe took time out to do that for me!
     I knew that this would just be the beginning of many butterfly sightings to come. Now the butterfly thing may sound a bit silly to you, but I think we each have our own things we look forward to…things that make us smile.  Praise God that He provides those smiley faced moments for us!  It seems this world has so many ways of wiping that smile off our face.  Our finances, health, relationships, and life in general seem to be constantly under attack by our enemy, Satan.  He is about the business of throwing burdens our way.  Sometimes the load seems too heavy to bear.  Life just gets the best of us and we settle into losing hope, letting go of our dreams, and giving up on the abundant life God has clearly offered and promised us in His word, the Bible. But, a promise is a promise when it comes to God.  So what are we missing here?
     The fact is that we are missing nothing HERE! Life here on this earth is NOT the know all and end all for those of us who are in Christ.  There is so very much more that lies ahead of us in eternity. Yet, somehow in the day in and day out life we live, we totally lose sight of that fact.  We get all bogged down in the here and now.  As  Dallas Willard writes in his book The Divine Conspiracy, that it matters for all the world to know that life is ahead of us.

I meet many faithful Christians who, in spite of their faith, are deeply disappointed in how their lives have turned out. Sometimes it is simply a matter of how they experience aging, which they take to mean they no longer have a future. But often, due to circumstances or wrong decisions and actions by others, what they had hoped to accomplish in life they did not.
…Much of the distress of these good people comes from a failure to realize that their life lies before them…the life that lies endlessly before us in the kingdom of God.

     Since I read this quote in John Elldredge’s book Desire, which I highly recommend, I have thought, there it is!  That explains why we all at some point get so disillusioned with this life.  We forget to look at the “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say.  In the back of our minds, we have that knowledge tucked away somewhere in in the creases of our brains. However, we are seemingly too overwhelmed with this life to bring it to the forefront of our thinking.  With this reality in proper prospective, there is the ability to have hope, joy and peace that overrides this present day’s problems. God has so much more in store for those of us who are His children!
      That quote, that truth brought such excitement to my soul.  My life, maybe like yours, has not turned out as you had planned and dreamed.  But, obviously, God has much greater plans for us, plans beyond our wildest dreams. As the old gospel song reminds us, this world is not my home. I’m just-a passing through! This is just our temporary home.  God confirms this to us in 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says:

But is is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.

     It is my hope that you will take this and go about living your day, your life, with eternity in mind.  Now that ought to bring a smile to your face and a spring to your step!  Praise God, keep looking up, and share this truth with someone you may know who is mired down in the problems of this life.  Tell them where your hope lies!

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with reverence and gentleness.  1 Peter 3:15


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