An Invitation to Look Higher

This is the last of three sample meditations from my forthcoming book. I must say, it is intimidating to put myself out there like this. But then I reason, I can’t I publish the book if I don’t trust my friends. This is Day 49.

Lord, I Need to Change my Focus

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:6-7

The most debilitating aspect of my brokenness was the way it hijacked my thoughts. There were days I could not lift my eyes above my pain—it screamed, throbbed, and stomped its feet. Its tantrums riveted my attention. I felt panicky and wondered if I would survive. How was I still functioning with this much pain? Could I live another day in this hurting body, on this precarious planet, among these flawed people?

I was groveling, not confidently living in heavenly places. This verse encouraged me to lift my head while walking the streets of this sick and painful world. It reminded me I have a home beyond my zip code where healing and hope abound. Dual citizenship meant I am a resident of Heaven and have treasures in another realm.

We were made for more than this earth. When we awaken the awareness of our eternal future, our eyes will look beyond our suffering. The promise of healing, peace, and dried tears will revive our hope. Restoration, justice, and wholeness await us.

Dear one, you are not alone but part of a family of sufferers and hopers. Know that Jesus secures your inheritance—one you can already glimpse if you will look up. Don’t let earth’s sorrows eclipse the joy that is yours, but focus your heart and mind on the life God offers. Live in the heavenly realms now.

Grace & Glory

Saturday’s breakfast was a blessing. Thank you to those who were praying. I wish you could see the faces I saw. They were all ages, fathers and mothers who grieved the loss of their children—from disease, accidents, or premature birth. They nodded when I described the pain and understood the throbbing presence of a hole, but their faces also reflected the peace of God’s grace. My heart broke for our hosts, whose son won the war against cancer to be taken from them in an accident. I ached with the parents who became childless after the deaths of five children. I couldn’t bear the pain of the young mom and dad whose little boy died in a farming accident. We befriended a couple who traveled up from South Carolina and wore shirts with words we all need to hear: “Gift to a Grieving Heart, #Talk About Them. His name is Jason.”

Today’s post is a second sample from my upcoming book, I dedicate it to the dear parents I met this weekend who understand that the deepest pain can be eclipsed by glory.

Lord, I’m Discouraged

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us

an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

2 Corinthians 4:17 (see verses 16-18)

My troubles didn’t feel light or temporal, but unbearably heavy with no conceivable end. Even though I believed earth’s problems are momentary compared with eternity, it didn’t diminish the depth of my pain or the upheaval of my life. It didn’t keep me from being distracted and discouraged—wasting away on the inside. Sometimes I just felt too tired to continue and yet, today’s verses told me my suffering was doing more than draining my vitality. It was actually achieving something for me—an eternal glory!

Glory that is weightier than the heaviness I was carrying and outshines my sorrow. Glory that is powerful enough to eclipse my suffering. Glory that increases in measure and amasses, waiting for me to receive it. This is the truth I needed to dwell on and allow it to carry me through until the day its fulfillment becomes mine.

Today is a small interval in our eternal life, a brief segment. We must not lose heart from pain and disappointment. Because God promises to renew us, we can persist and push forward. By keeping eternity in sight, we remember this life is not all there is—so much more is ahead for us. That is our encouragement and it puts our sorrow in perspective.

Dear one, you are deeply loved. God will renew you day by day. He is waiting with open arms and an open heart to welcome you, now and into eternity. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (verse 18).