Friday, November 1, 2013
If God Lets You Live Longer
If you listen to the message on the prayer line shared by Presbyterian Elders in Prayer and Belvidere, Illinois' First Presbyterian Church (815-544-3535), you'll catch a Pauline drift that's always been integral to Biblically Christocentric and pneumatically enlightened Christianity in a Philippians 1:21-24 kinda way.
Authentics as opposed to posers understand/radiate that drift/confidence.
Really, if we really believe that believing in Jesus ends up in heaven in a Revelation 21 kinda way, we're not obsessed with the 70 or 80 or maybe even up to 120 limited years in time in a Psalm 90 kinda way.
I've always felt sorry for people who live like emotional, intellectual, and spiritual hypochondriacs with a pre-converted-Pulitzer-prize-winning Beckerian denial/fear of death.
Christians ain't afraid of death to time because we're convinced of something much, much, much infinitely/indescribably better with Someone after time...forever...that commences after the last breath in time.
That's the Gospel!
Ultimately, the Gospel is not about good stuff fixed temporarily.
Ultimately, the Gospel is about living forever with our Lord and the Lord's in the pure and perfect place of personal peace that He and His have always talked about as fidelity's ultimate destination.
Or as Jesus promised anyone who turns to Him, "You will be with me in paradise."
Christians are convinced that sounds a lot better than...
That's why, all things being unequal in time but equal eternally through Jesus, I have a really, really, really hard time feeling/being/acting defeated when saying good-bye to anyone in time when I know there's heaven for all of the saints who from their existential labors rest.
Again, the Pauline in me operates in a Romans 8 kinda way.
Or something like that.
Kansas City's IHOPer Mike Bickle says he limits his staff to only one or two "God told me(s)" a year.
With ya, brother!
Luther's call to and from monasticism comes to mind.
Anyway, I've only had three occasions in four decades of ordained undershepherding ministry when I believe God told me to pray for three men to live longer when they were considered to be dead as door nails by attending physicians.
In other words, I've only had three occasions when I believe God has told me to pray for miracles to let people live longer in time no matter what I believe about heaven as aforementioned.
Annnnnnnd in all three situations, it's been a Philippians 1:24 deal.
God told me that they had more work to do in time with His for Him.
Sooooooo when they did regenerate miraculously, I shared my "God told me" with them.
I explained I discerned God had a purpose for letting them live longer.
I warned them that they had to seize the opportunity/privilege/grace or...
One man in Kansas City did and lived another decade with exceeding generosity, reconcilability, and overall fidelity.
One man in Rockford did not and his family has suffered incredible sadnesses/calamity ever since.
Here's the point as articulated in prayer by Father Abbe Michel Quoist: "You who are beyond time, Lord, You smile to see us fighting it. And You know what You are doing. You make no mistakes in Your distribution of time to men. You give each one time to do what You want him to do. But we must not waste time, kill time,...For time is a gift that You give us,...But a perishable gift,...A gift that does not keep."
He concluded, "I am not asking You, Lord, for time to do this and then that,...But Your grace to do conscientiously, in the time that You give me, what You want me to do."
Do I want to live longer?
Do you want to live longer?
Do I/you really believe that believing in Jesus means heaven after I/you die to time?
Am/Are I/you prepared to take the time that He graces to me/you with rededication: "Not as I will but as You..."?
Now go back to Philippians 1:21-24.
Blessings and Love!