“Eternity is what makes sense of the present.”

I read that in Paul David Tripp’s book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand about six months after I started puzzling over heaven. That’s so true, is all I could think.

Because I wonder if my yearlong fixation on heaven is why (if I’ll ever know or be able to articulate a why) Brad is so sick. I know God has a journey and a plan for Brad in this and I praise Him for it. But I often wonder why God gave me a very sick husband? Why is this the specific race I’m meant to run and not another? What am I supposed to learn about my Father through this? How am I supposed to grow and how have I been equipped to reflect Him in this yucky situation? How is God using this to change my heart?

I think at least part of it was to give me a soul-level longing for a better country. Let’s hearken back again to pre-teen Joanna (she wore glasses, had unfortunate bangs, and was was afraid of heaven). At that age, I knew I was supposed to want to go to heaven and look forward to it, but I didn’t know why–all in good time, I thought. In my teen years, I was afraid still–afraid that I’d go to heaven without ever having a boyfriend. When I met Brad, once or twice I thought, I hope Jesus doesn’t come back before we get married. I just want to be his wife, if even only for a few hours. Then as soon as we got married, I thought the same things about having kids.

But the Lord has been faithful to strip those fears away. Has it been the most painful and sorrowful experience of my life? Without question. But if I hadn’t been in this valley, I would never want to leave this earth. Maybe this is what it takes for me to see heaven as my true home and this as the training ground. In that case, this is a sweet (and severe) mercy.

 

P.S. Also on the topic of heaven, remember in Return of the King (the book, not the movie) when Sam asks Gandalf, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” So good! I desperately need to re-read those books. And The Hobbit, though I couldn’t find it in the children’s section at our library where all the shelves are SO short. Note to librarians: I was 5′ 10″ at like, 12. So don’t think kids don’t need tall shelves.

P.P.S. As you read this, we’re driving back from St. Louis, where Brad had oral surgery. Would you pray for a quick recovery for him and that this surgery will bring healing to his body?

P.P.P.S. Obviously, I have a lot to catch you all up on.

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