I will just go ahead and begin by throwing this out there, I am by all accounts a commitment phobe. (Is that even such a thing? I am not sure, but it is me.)
Commitment has always scared me. (Actually it is the people requiring the commitment of me that I find so terrifying- but maybe that is another post? For another time?)
I used to joke in the ever-so-serious-as-poop sort of way (Poop is really serious business you know, move continents and find out for yourself.) that marriage took a long time. And who wanted to wake up to the same face every morning. Although truthfully, I can admit the real fear was who would want to wake up to my face…every single morning…day after day.
Oddly enough, I found someone. And even stranger, without hesitation I can say I am looking forward to seeing that face –that same face every single morning –day after day…for a really long time.
To him the gatekeeper open. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:3-4 (Emphasis added.)
And it might seem silly, but it amazes me how God is faithful to teach His children –not just poking me with his rod and pushing me with his staff- but the familiar soothing voice of the Shepherd, that I know and love. That takes good care of His sheep. He rescues. He heals. He protects. And it occurs to me…
God is like marriage.
Okay, maybe this is not so earth shattering to you, but I am still learning. This whole love and marriage thing is new to me- and the comfort of commitment is still sort of like a new hair cut. (You know, when it looks so good it makes you feel cute but then you forget about it until someone compliments you or better yet- you pass a mirror. And dang it- you look so good it makes you smile.)
It is a funny journey- from shuddering at the thought (of a very long time) to the silly grin that now spreads across the face. (But of course I am never silly or anything like that.)
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you that I got to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself that where I am, you may be also. John 14:2-3 (Emphasis added.)
Jesus said, He is preparing a place for me. The promise is there. Red lettered, typed out, big as life, and as true as rain.
The face-I-am-going-to-wake-up-to-every-morning is building us a house- and this has gotten me to thinking.
I have known Jesus’ words for a long time now, but the underlying truth in His words did not resonate until recently. (Perhaps they are not so underlying –maybe I just do not know how to take a hint.)
Jesus loves me. He loves me so much that I am being invited into His house. (And not so that He can move out- but so that where He is, (the I AM) I may be also.
Shocking, I know. His message. His promise. In my father’s house. You know, living with someone is serious business. (Even more serious than poop.) Jesus loves you that much.
He is the bridegroom, waiting on His bride. (In case you were thinking by live with, I meant anything other than marriage- nope. God wants committed commitment.)
He is not preparing for you to come and visit. Stay awhile and move on. It is not a move in a see if we can figure out if we can live together sort of deal. He is preparing a place for you to be wholly, completely, and eternally enamored –awestruck in His beautiful presence.
Someone once made the mistake of telling me that Heaven was going to be like one really long church service. Umm…why on earth would you ever tell that to the kid you just watched squirming in her chair for the last hour of church?
And like the waking-up-to-the-same-face-every-morning phobia, heaven sort of scared me- but you know what?
God is like falling in love.
The more I know Him. The more inviting the place He is preparing for me is. The more at home He is in my heart- the more I find myself thankful for the home I have in Heaven.
My point is this do not kid yourself. Heaven is not a vacation, and salvation is more than just winning a trip. Remember, God wants commitment.
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you’ If you loved me you would have rejoiced
for I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28 (Emphasis added.)
Jesus loves you. And He gave His life so that He could invite you into His house- so that you might become family. If you are professing Christ as your Savior then live like you are getting ready for your bridegroom. (Hey, this is something to get excited about!)
To me though, the best surprise in this lesson has been a verse that God brought to my attention a couple of days ago.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live you also will live. John 14:18 (Emphasis added.)
This summer I ping-ponged between two children homes. I held orphans hands. Hugged their necks. Joked with them. I saw first hand their desire to be loved. To belong.
There is something beautiful about being part of a family. I belong to my family. I even look like I belong to my family. (At least so people say.)
Salvation is more than a spot in heaven, it is an adoption. It is belonging.
And suddenly, a song burst into my mind, and for the first time. I get it.
I am my beloved's and He is mine His banner over me is love.
(From Song of Solomon 2:16)Yup, I am his. He is mine. I belong.