The rapture, the moment when Christ comes back and moments that follow, has always intimidated me. The unknown can be scary. And, I'll admit, I like my life on earth - and I want the chance to get married and have a home and a family. So, as I notice signs of the end times and grasp the reality that it could very likely happen soon, I began searching for information, for knowledge, for comfort. I want to be excited about it. I want to look forward to that moment.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14: 2-3
This book, along with much other prayer and research, has made me think about the big picture and instilled in me desires to be actively waiting for Christ's return.
A desire to do more - In 100 years, the color of my room or what I ate for lunch won't matter. What will matter is what I did for Christ. The hours I helped others. The ways that I used my talents and gifts to reach the world. The smiles that encouraged, the hugs that helped, the words that healed, the time and money given that helped in ways that I never knew.
I need to serve in whatever capacity I can. Serve at Campbell, by being an encouraging light to all I come in contact with. Serve by publishing my books, my stories, the words and characters that God placed on my heart. Serve my family and friends, serve at church and serve alongside others. I need to quit being so selfish and realize what really matters is not making myself happy today, but hearing "Well done" from my Creator and Savior then.
A desire to tell more - The last chapter I read was about the reality of hell. Hell represents justice, helps us appreciate God's grace, and validates our need for a Savior. But it's real - and what a tragedy it would be for someone that I know, someone I care about to spend an eternity in pain because I didn't share the most important thing with them.
A few weeks ago, I had a student who was really stressed out. She had tests, quizzes, presentations, and personal stuff all piling up. I told her that "this too shall pass" - in 3 weeks, it will all be over. Whenever I have a doctor's appointment or a presentation, I have faith in knowing that soon it will just be a memory in the past. There's always something to look forward to and God is in control. And I think that will be the worst part about hell. There is no release from the pain. There is no end to the torture, the loneliness. And there is no longer a Savior to reach out to, a God to trust in.
As Christians, we always have a light at the end of the tunnel. Even in stress and pain, even in death, we can have faith in knowing there's something better waiting for us. How can I stand back and not offer that same salvation and hope and joy to those around me? How absolutely horrible would it be to know that the end of pain in this world is only the beginning of pain for eternity.
A desire to hug Him - Every time I hear "I Can Only Imagine", I imagine. How will I react when I see Jesus for the first time? When He's standing before me - within reach? But it's easy to imagine, and oh so sweet to think about. I'm going to hug Him.
Whenever I'm stressed, I close my eyes and I will the Holy Spirit to give me a hug. To wrap me in peace and comfort. Before I knew who he was, I would pray that God would give my future husband a hug for me. Let him know that someone cares. And, when someone I know is struggling, I still pray that God will wrap His arms around them in a loving embrace.
I love hugs from Derrick. At the end of every day, it's what I look forward to most. Whenever we first see each other, we wrap each other in love and let the world disappear for a minute. Last Friday, I wasn't feeling well, I wasn't in a good mood, I was struggling - and I knew that if I could just see Derrick and fall into his arms, then it would be better...And it was.
How much more amazing will my hugs from Jesus be! His hug will take away all burdens, wipe all tears, and give peace above all understanding. His hug will be perfect. And, when I think about hugging Jesus, I can't help but be excited!
And, more than being a comfort for me, I want my hug to be a big Thank You to Him. One of my favorite, and the most touching, parts of the book by Lucado is when he talks about our heavenly clothes.The elders and the angels are all robbed in white, and we will be clothed in white too. But Jesus, who deserves the pure robes of white more than any, is cloaked red. Every time we sin, we stain our robe. We taint the beautiful wedding dress. But Jesus volunteered to take the stains for us - and the only way to cover all of our sins and stains and impurities - is by shedding His blood and covering the stains with crimson. When I think about hugging Jesus, I can't help but be thankful!
Know Him. If you're reading this and you aren't sure if you know Him, if you are going to heaven...if you aren't sure if you're going to have that "I can only imagine" moment...I want you to know that you can have a relationship with Jesus and confidence in the future. You just have to accept Him as your Savior. And it's more than knowing there is a God, it's choosing to have a relationship with Him. Choosing to do your best to live for Him. Choosing to acknowledge His place in your life and what He did to offer you eternity with Him.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.