Break Open the Sky

I sat on Jeremiah’s bed while all three of my children lay across the length of his twin size trundle.  Legs curled and bodies bunched, special blankets and pillows, stuffed animals crowded around them.  They had all decided that they would sleep there that whole night.  Addie lay in the middle between the brothers.  Taking up most of the room.

I was telling them about the great day that Jesus would return to the earth.  The day the trumpet would blast signaling the coming of the King.  The day those who love Him would rise to meet Him in the air.

We heard a noise coming from the kitchen (probably my father-in-law scrounging up a snack or something).  Thadd shot up from the bed, “Is dat Jesus?!” he exclaimed.  “De tumpet?”  I could make out wide eyes in the dimly lit room.

“No baby,” I replied with a smile, “that’s probably just Papa.”

I prayed with them, tickled backs and sang songs like they always asked for and then kissed them in a row.  Closing the door, I wondered how long it would be before Jeremiah moved over to his brother’s bed so he could stretch out his legs.

I wondered other things too.  Like what would this world be like for my children as they grew up in it.  The presidential election drawing nigh brought so many questions to my mind.  The economy seemed to be crumbling beneath us, and politicians raged and promised, each side attacking the other and offering the answer to the nation’s problems.  It seemed to be this big game, with the lives of people at stake.  The conventions, republican and democratic, being at polar odds with one another in value and direction.

And then these attacks on the embassy in Egypt and Libya and Yemen?!  Peace and safety are far cries these days.  Like the nations are arranging themselves for a final apocalypse.  And Israel is involved, and I am not sure what part the United States plays exactly.  It’s enough to make a sensible citizen want to run out to Montana and buy a few acres and live out the rest of her days self-sufficient and dependent upon the land for her livelihood.  To go hide and wait for the return of the King.  I mean, it all sounds very tempting.  Very tempting.

But deep down there is this prodding within that moves me to believe that there is a great work to be done.  A work that has been prepared just for me since the beginning of time.  For such a time as this.  In these unstable times God is calling me to Himself.  To follow Him where He is at work.  And it doesn’t look like he’s leading us to bury our heads in the sand and hide while the world self-destructs and then the trumpet sounds, bringing forth the consummation of all things.  While we, all the while, are preserved from suffering.

No.  I think the work the Lord has for us to do is dirty and bloody and difficult.  A work that will involve a death of what I hold dear.  A giving up of all the gods that I have set up before Him.  A great call to love those who are most difficult to love during days of hate.  A stretching of my comfortable, complacent Christian life, giving up control and plans and boxy living.  And I am scared to death.

But what do I stand to gain?

Unspeakable joy.  Peace.  Life.  Purpose.  The coming to the complete end of myself to be strengthened thoroughly by the power of God.  Growing in faith and trust.  Experiencing the Lord’s presence and provision because I place myself in a position of desperation.  Seeing change in myself.  Living the cross.  And one day gaining riches in heaven.  Riches not worth comparing with what I have given up here on earth.

A few days after the slumber party on the trundle bed, I sat outside watching my youngest son swing on his swing while the humming birds darted in and out at the feeders above my head.

“When is God coming back?” Thadd asked me.  His little face gazed up at the clouds in the sky.

“Soon,” I replied.  Soon.  But until that day, there was work to be done.