In a Million Years

8 05 2014

Success may be the most deceptive goal we strive for.

We reach and stretch and strain to attain some accomplishment, only to discover that fulfillment is as fleeting as a hummingbird.

There are countless times when I’ve worked hard toward a purpose which was certain to satisfy my longing to do something that matters – something that has lasting value – only to achieve my desired result…and be as unsettled a day or two later as I was before I reached my goal.

My first published book is one of many examples:

I’d learned much about God through various trials and tests I’d endured. My relationship with Him had certainly changed and deepened over the decades. I wanted others to catch a glimpse of the communion He offers to all.

The big day arrived – five boxes of my book were delivered to our home. The sense of satisfaction lasted only an hour or so. Then it felt hollow. It lacked something.

“Your mother would be so proud of you,” one of my aunts wrote to me.

Humph. She’s in heaven, and unable to speak in words I could hear. The idea that she was proud didn’t help much.

Overall, the experience left me feeling flat and underwhelmed.

In the end I thought, There has to be more to life than this.

This led me to wonder why people make such a big deal out of success.

One of the benefits of my mother’s passing was that I began to seriously contemplate what’s on the other side of the grave.

My beliefs were shaky at best. In fact, at one point I told God that I was missing the “worship gene” – the one necessary for an eternity spent flat on my face or sitting on a cloud in a white nightgown while I strummed a harp forever.

“I’m sorry that I feel this way, Lord, but that sounds downright boring,” I exclaimed as waves of futility washed over me.

Writers like C. S. Lewis, Randy Alcorn, and Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Lieper’s Fort, TN, gave me a new perspective on heaven. I’m deeply grateful to them. Each one peeled back the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next and showed me an eternity that I long for.

“God put eternity in our hearts,” says Solomon. We sense that there is more to this world, that we were destined to have lasting satisfaction and joy.

Since then, I realize that many of the things I used to hope to accomplish may have to wait.

My view of goals was that I have only so many years in which to achieve them.

My wasted youth, foolishly lived, was a sad fact that I would have to live with.

I imagined myself as I stood before God and said, “But Lord, I never got to (write beautiful music, learn to paint, become an accomplished vocalist, etc.),” to which He would reply, “Wow! Stinks to be you. Too bad you didn’t spend time more wisely. Oh well, here’s your harp and nightgown. Pick a cloud and have a nice forever.”

I no longer believe this.

Let’s get some things straight: Hell is the place of boredom, isolation and meaninglessness. Our belief that heaven is this way is a very clever lie fomented by our enemy. He’s done a good job of making heaven seem more unattractive than standing in a “Returns” line in a store the day after Christmas!

He is, after all, a liar.

Having prayerfully considered what heaven is like, and asked questions of God, I now understand that those unfulfilled dreams don’t die with us. They go with us and will come to pass at some point in the future. God planted those longings within us because He intends to fulfill them. I’m so glad!

The psalmist said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart.” I used to think this meant that it was my job to dream it up, and God’s to fulfill my wishes.

Read it again, though.

The desires of our heart come from God. He planted the desire there because He intends to make it happen!

This altered how I choose to spend my time. For instance, I’d love to be a painter. Right now I don’t want to invest either time or money in order to actually pursue this hobby. There are more important things for me to do…like interact with people. I can’t do both at the same time. The main reason I haven’t been taken home (I believe) is because there are still lost people that I am supposed to reach.

However, to be able to paint is a desire of mine…a longing. I love to create beautiful things; it feels so good! I believe this desire was given to me by my Creator because it will one day be fulfilled.

Some days I wonder whom God will assign as my teacher. Perhaps it will be Michelangelo or Davinci!

Perhaps I’ll have Bach as my piano/music composition tutor.

Mmm. The conversations I’ll have with Bible characters – King David, Sarah, Paul, John, Dorcas and Lazarus! Perhaps I’ll be given the honor of writing their life stories for heaven’s library.

There will be opportunities to explore the universe…to see sights heretofore hidden from view.

My anticipation is like that of a kid who knows she’s going to Disneyland and can’t wait!

(Not that Disneyland can begin to compare to an eternity with Jesus. 😉 – You know what I mean! )

Have you ever wondered what you’ll be doing a million years from today? You’ll certainly be doing something…

…and it won’t involve attending one never-ending church service in your nightgown and with a harp!

Now that I can let go of the “need to succeed,” I can enjoy life to the full. My satisfaction and value as a person comes from the Lord alone. I love to hear Him say, “Well done.”

At the end of the day, all I may have to show for my time is a cleaner spot in my house, a new post, and maybe a bit worked out on a new song. By the world’s standards, I’m a nobody.

Praise God! I’m not of this world!

I’m the daughter of the King of kings

…and that is enough!

***

Don’t miss Mel Wilde’s post on this matter: Our Problem with Correction

But wait; it gets better! Don’t miss the next post. 😉

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15 responses

11 05 2014
StephenWhoElse

A million years from now….I don’t think I’ll be blogging that’s for sure, and that’s not because they don’t have WiFi in heaven… It’s because all of us will be with the King, and there will be no more secrets, no more pain, no more death. We will have access to the Holy One to ask any question and clear any doubt!

We will reign with Jesus and serve with Him
We will worship in His presence
We will judge angels!
Clouds? We’ll be ruling nations!

12 05 2014
lessonsbyheart

To imagine what life will be like then is a fun exercise. It helps me keep things in perspective…provides hope when life is hard. 🙂

\o/

9 05 2014
cucumberlodge

Philippians 3:7-11 – “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

9 05 2014
lessonsbyheart

“This is eternal life, that they know You, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3.I always thought that eternal life began *after* death. Boy, was I wrong!

\o/

8 05 2014
Renee Ratcliffe

I just love this ~ thank you! Looking forward to the next post!

8 05 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Renee. 🙂

\o/

8 05 2014
Mel Wild

“Having prayerfully considered what heaven is like, and asked questions of God, I now understand that those unfulfilled dreams don’t die with us. They go with us and will come to pass at some point in the future. God planted those longings within us because He intends to fulfill them. I’m so glad!”

That’s a great insight. Amen! That makes me happy with joy! Sounds like GOOD news!

Actually, since heaven is coming to earth in the end, we get all of heaven AND the new earth–in physical bodies, like Jesus’ resurrected body. No Gerber babies with wings playing harps in clouds for us! LOL! Hallelujah, we’ve been saved from a dull uninspired version of heaven.

I also ponder what it will be like to have endless days of fellowship with billions of other people, doing what we were designed to do, with fullness of joy at all times. Sounds like heaven to me!

Look forward to hearing some of your songs and seeing those paintings, btw. 🙂
Blessings.

8 05 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Mel.

I just got a boatload of new insight on this – which I will share in my next post. I always thought I would have to “endure” this life to get to the *real* one.

If “the Kingdom of God is within you” – then I’m betting that there’s much more for me here than I ever dared hope for. Now THAT’S Good News!!!

\o/

8 05 2014
Mel Wild

Amen! I think you’ve got it. It’s really good news here…and even BETTER news in the age to come. 🙂

8 05 2014
Nate

I love the idea of letting go of the need to succeed. Surely success is staying faithful, despite whether or not we ‘achieve’?

8 05 2014
lessonsbyheart

The Lord once showed me a bunch of people, each attempting to “air climb” a non-existent ladder of success. That’s all it took for me to find a better use of my time!

\o/

8 05 2014
vonhonnauldt

My own view of heaven is that it will be similar to what earth would have been lime, had Adam and Eve not sinned – infinitely better, of course.

8 05 2014
lessonsbyheart

Mine too, with lots of extras!

\o/

9 05 2014
Ed

I agree. Heaven on Earth is our future.

9 05 2014
vonhonnauldt

Thanks for your reply. I not certain that I completely understand your comment. I said it would be “similar”. There are many views of eternity floating around. Rev. 21 says that “God’s dwelling place is with man” in a new heaven and earth.” Wherever that will be for certain, it will be heaven. Certainly we won’t be sitting on clouds and playing on harps forever.

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