December 23, 2010
Heaven on earth--don't settle for status quo
Some months ago I was blessed with the opportunity to take a peek at some of his writings. What an experience it was. He is an outstanding wordsmith, whose pen is directed by the Spirit of God. I am still blown away by what I read.
Recently I invited him to be a guest on this blog. This is my first time featuring someone else's work. I can't think of another person that I would rather have as my first guest. By the time you are done reading his post, I believe that you will agree. It's not warm and fuzzy--more like full of fire. Please feel free to leave him comments here, or at his places on the web which I have included at the end of this post.
My thanks to Cornell for sharing his gift and his passion for God.
Heaven on earth (Don't settle for status quo)
Broken hearts, shattered dreams, tainted vision. This threefold list is a famous tear-jerker. Its siblings include miss Disappointment and Mr. Discouragement. You are definitely familiar with this family. Actually, your heart knows them better, they live there. You have heard enough of hurting words to know that they don’t break ear-drums, they break hearts. You have read enough bad news to know it doesn’t look bad on a page; it looks ugly in a heart. You know what it’s like to have a promise broken, a dream shattered and a spirit speared. Yes, our hearts are experienced pin cushions when it comes to pain points.
Yet, that’s life. That’s what makes living, living. That’s society’s definition of normal. “The pain is part of the package,” we’ve been told. “No pain, no gain,” we quote and quip. But is that true? Is life is just a series of bad things punctuated by “happy” moments? Is despair our default mode? As much as we would like to answer “No” to such questions, experience has taught us better. Look at our society. We celebrate smiles. We calendar mark and calorie map our happy moments; birthdays, promotions, Christmases and other random moments of joy. Our hearts skip a beat in times of sudden joy. What about hours of sudden grief? Do hearts skip beats or slow down then? No. They beat the same… same rhythm… same fashion. The only thing that varies is the weight of the heart, depending on the weight of the hurt.
So, what do we do now? Do we settle for this? Is this destiny, to dance with despair? Will the rest of our lives be solely composed of making it less painful, less stressful and a little more bashful? Is home where our HURT is? Or is there more? Difficult questions, these ones. Ugly questions, even. Oh, the number of times we’ve asked them. We’ve posed them so much that we’ve decided to pause them. We no longer question pain. We’re no longer shocked by grief. Our hearts have become numb to our hurts. We have attained master’s degrees on stress management and numbing pain. Yes, we have learnt to live with less joy, less justice… and less Jesus.
Yes. Less Jesus. We love to hate Him. It’s so much easier that way, or so we think. Our society has brought us up believing in the light at the “end” of the tunnel. But Jesus comes and offers us a light “in” the tunnel, whether or not the end is in sight. Life has taught us to brace storms, curse injustice and nurse wounds as we wait for calm seas. But Jesus offers us a savior in the midst of the storm, hope in the midst of despair, healing in the midst of death. Jesus lets the storm rage, the war wage and the only comforting words He leaves us with are, “Why are you so afraid?” and “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mark 4:40, Matt 28:20)
Our hearts want to shout to the former, “Too late, Jesus. We’re already sinking in fright!” and to the latter words we respond arrogantly, “We don’t want you to be with us, we want you to take us out of here!” What’s the point of joining me in a fire if your purpose is to save me from the fire? The worst idea you could ever have in trying to save a drowning man is suggesting he scoot over in that deep well. But apparently, Jesus doesn’t think so. He’s been known to waltz through fiery furnaces and sleep in storm-tossed boats. Even more disturbing is what he says about suffering to believers, “And YOU will be objects of hatred by all people on account of my name.” (Matt 10:22) That’s so encouraging Jesus. Don’t wait up, I’ll find my own way out. We often want to say, and apparently we mean it. We find ourselves backsliding and sin-kissing before we know it. The Holy way is not the only way, there’s a wholly different option. One with “less pain”, and we make that our default mode.
And that’s the problem. We’ve let The Fault mode to be our default mode. We’ve settled for sin, and it’s been downhill ever since. Yet Jesus offers us, not hope for the moment alone (which we’d much rather settle for) but hope for eternity. While we struggle and fight to understand and unwrap the present, Jesus has His eyes set on our future. While we battle with scales of myopia, Jesus is tilting the scales of life and death. And He does want to give us life, abundant life, eternal life. Will you receive it this Christmas? Will you receive Him this Christmas? You don’t have to settle for earth. You weren’t made to. You weren’t meant to. Heaven came down for you. The least you can do is look up.
If you would like to read more of Cornell's work please visit his blog.
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If you would like to friend Cornell on Facebook you can find him here.