Saturday, November 12, 2016

There Is No Heaven On Earth

Sometimes we wonder what other people are thinking; we can’t help it.  And I am no different than you.  This morning thoughts came into my head about what someone who reads these written words might be thinking of me --- and my thoughts.  On the one hand I primarily write these words for myself, a journal of my life to remind myself at some future date of the good times and the bad times of my life.  In good times, like now, the joys I feel I wish to document --- and share, if they can somehow bring joy to others.  And I write of these good times as reminders for in the bad times --- because oh, yes, the bad times will come, and sometimes they seem so hard to bear.  I pray that I remember to look back then and read of these good times, to give me some measure of peace, and confidence that no matter how bad things get, someday there will again be joy.  I trust in God that this will be true.
In writing now about how God has been good to me, I wondered how others see these words.  Do some think:  Oh, I’m happy for him?  Do some think: What an ego, that he thinks God talks to him?  And do some think:  Must be nice; He never talks to me?  I don’t know what others think, nor do I want to influence their thoughts.  But I can write what mine are, even if they are delusional.  And of late, it does seem to me as if God is speaking to my heart.

I recently wrote of the words I read in Revelations on the day after the election.  If you haven’t read them (and to document them here to remind myself), here are some of the words from Revelations 18 which I read and which spoke to my heart that day:
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!  It has become a dwelling place of demons.
All nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.  Then I heard another voice saying, “Come out of her, my people … lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”
Since in her heart she says, “A queen I sit.”
So shall her plagues come in a single day … for mighty is the Lord who judges her.
The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud.
In one hour she has been laid waste.
I read those words not knowing the election results, yet I felt in my heart I did, regardless of what the polls and “experts” had said the day before, and regardless of who had won.  I felt that a good change was coming for our country.  I felt God had spoken to me --- and it is what I felt, regardless also of what you might think.
And as I saw reactions to the election around the country, yesterday I read these words in my daily readings, and again I felt in my heart that God was touching me:
For I can see nothing but violence and strife in the city.  Night and day they patrol high on the city walls.
As for me, I will cry to God and the Lord will save me.
He will deliver my soul in peace … for those who fight me are many, but he hears my voice.
They have no fear of God.
Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.  He will never allow the must man to stumble.
O Lord, I will trust in you.

And then I read the opening line of the Gospel this morning, and these reflections in the book The Better Part:
Then he told them a parable about the need
to pray continually and never lose heart.
He is able to influence our lives and history. …”Ask, and it will be given to you,” our Lord pointed out.
Christ refuses to be a dictator, but delights in being a generous and responsive King.
No prayer that we utter goes unheard.
He is eagerly searching for hearts that trust him enough to ask him unceasingly for everything they need.
On judgment day, one of our greatest regrets will be how little we prayed.
It’s like refusing to turn on the lights because we’re afraid they might not work.
Jesus:  “You may hurt me by preferring your own will and being unfaithful to me, but I will never be unfaithful to you.”
Thank you for the gift of prayer, Lord.  Thank you for giving me a share in your work, for not doing it all yourself.  Now my life can have eternal repercussions as you want it to. Dear Lord, teach me to use my freedom  well.
I believe that the prayers prayed by churches around this country mattered in this election.  And I believe God affirmed that to me.
Were all these words I read this week, and the thoughts in my heart, just delusions?  Perhaps, but they have given me joy at a time when my soul was filled with anxieties over the state of our country, our culture, and the world.  Did these words or thoughts tell me: Well, here’s who needs to be elected president, or here’s what needs to be done?  No, of course not.  But they did tell me that all will be well, if I but trust in the Lord, and continue to pray for his mercy on our country.  And, I believe, He has given me peace on joy in response to my prayers.
Am I some nut?  Perhaps, but I don’t believe so.  Am I some saint?  Again, perhaps but I don’t believe so, for if that were true heaven must indeed be some strange place.
And perhaps it will be, even for people like me and like you. We can only pray.  

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