Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Moment Outside Space and Time


"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world."  
Ephesians 1:14

When Dennis had his stroke, in the first ten minutes before the ambulance came, I had the strangest experience.  It seemed as if time were suspended, as if Dennis and I were alone together in the universe, with no awareness of any other place outside that spot on the bedroom floor where he had fallen, no awareness that anything existed outside our own present experience.  

I had no thoughts of the past or the future.  I was not yet grieving or even afraid.  I was suspended in shock, and obviously anxious, but not for what might be coming, only for what was happening right then.  My mind and heart were rooted in that present moment, in that present place.  

I believe in those few moments Dennis and I were existing, together, not in time, but in eternity.  We were existing in the state in which we had been chosen by God, before "time" and "space" were created--before "the foundation of the world."

The amazing Truth is that our identity, our calling, our reason for being is rooted in eternity.  That's when God chose us, when He determined that we would be born, that we would die, at a particular time, and in a specific place in history. 

In the same way, our destiny is rooted in eternity.  Jesus said, 

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  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 14:1-3)

Jesus' statement is full of references to both place and time, but He is referring to a "place" and "time" that will be outside the realm of both.  He has prepared a place in eternity for us.  In that "place" we will exist in an eternal "moment" that will be full of a kind of bliss we can't even imagine down here.  

He's promised us that. In that "place" and at that "time,"  

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

In those few moments as I sat beside Dennis on the floor, holding him, waiting through what seemed like an eternity before the ambulance came, it was as if the veil were removed.  

All the barriers were down--all the barriers that we construct over a lifetime to protect us from the harshness of the broken world we are all born into--the barriers that separate us from each other--the barriers that separate us from our Creator and from heaven.

They were all gone.  

In that moment, Dennis and I existed, together, in the "place" and at the "time" when we had been chosen by God.  It was a moment of eternity, and, though it was an unbelievably anxious time, there was a sense of awe about it.  

Dennis stayed in that moment.  
I will be there one day as well.  

Joy will come to stay in that morning moment.  

A great hope!




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On A Dark, Winter's Night

So, I'm going to break this writer's block stage I've been going through for over a year now--this dark winter's night of the soul.  I'll do it by posting, with determined consternation, my devotional thoughts--here, where God and everybody can see them.  At least I'll try this.  We'll see if it breaks the dam.

Today I've been reading Romans 8 in The Message.  This passage speaks to a problem I often have with boredom and listlessness, both precursors to despondency and depression, helplessness and stagnation.  (ie: writer's block)  The solution to this problem is both obvious and easy.  Why do I keep forgetting?

Romans 8 says,

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.  Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them--living and breathing God!

Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.  Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God.  That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.  And God isn't pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him.  Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about.  But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells--even though you still experience all the limitations of sin--you yourself experience life on God's terms.

The emphasis in the above is mine.  It's all about "where you put your eyes."  

Stagnant: Looking inward.  

Fresh and alive: Looking outward and upward.  

Looking at Jesus.  
Seeing Him in the beautiful world around me. 
Seeing Him in the beautiful people around me.
Seeing Him in his Word.  

That's all it takes to break the despondency cycle.  
Deep breath.  Refreshed.
Thank you, Jesus.