The Good Ol Days

www.youtube.com/watch

It’s been a long time since I heard this song. How much do we feel this longing?

I was singing that line..”Tell me about the good ol days” and had to go listen to the words again. It really is a good song that seems to bring attention to a desire we all have.

It got me thinking about our heart and that longing(one of my favorite things to talk about) that is within us. We long for things to be set right for goodness and love, but what are we looking to for satisfaction in that longing?

One of my favorite quotes by CS Lewis speaks of this longing and desire. When I first read “The Weight of Glory” it resonated so deep, I cried like a baby. Here is a quote from it:

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

The Door

I was walking down an unfamiliar old outdated hallway, it was like an old run down hotel. Down the hallway, there were doors on all sides one right after the other. I opened a door and there was another door. I kept walking down the hallway, and opened another door, there was a staircase this time. I was just trying to find an outlet that would lead somewhere. I kept opening door after door. I was trapped. I started panicking. Have you ever been lost before and gotten that horrible sinking feeling? It is the most unsettling feeling. I started screaming for someone to help me. “Help! Help me!” There was not a soul around. I finally opened a door at the end that led me outdoors. “Finally an outlet!” For a moment I was relieved, until I realized that these surroundings where unfamiliar too. It was freezing cold outside and there was snow on the ground. There were rows and rows of houses, but they seemed empty. The whole area appeared desolate. The anxiety started pouring in again. Finally out of the corner of my eye I saw this older lady walking down the street coming towards me. I ran towards her and asked anxiously, ” Can you help me?” She said nothing and walked away like she didn’t even see me. I cried out loud again, “Can you help me?” And then I woke up.

I’m sure as you were reading that you suspected it was a dream or some scene from the twilight zone.(I love that old show) When I had this dream, it was so real and I wrote it down and of course as I do about almost everything, I started my theological reflection.

The first thing I thought of was this idea of being in a maze searching for the thing that will give us peace and finally ultimate fulfillment. Each one of the doors appeared like an outlet, I mean they were doors and doors when opened are supposed to lead somewhere, but when opened they didn’t lead anywhere, except to another door. Like a dog chasing its tail. If you read my previous blogs, I talked a lot about chasing after that longing and when we chase after anything but Jesus it won’t lead us anywhere. Jesus said, “I am the door.” I also saw the symbolism of the freezing cold outside and the desolate houses. The one door that I came to where I found somewhat of an outlet, was still no outlet. It was cold, empty and lonely, and even the one soul that appeared to be there wasn’t there for me either. The enemy tempts us with other doors and by his way of doing things, but he is a liar and a deceiver. The lady in my dream I saw as the enemy, not caring one thing about me, ignoring me definitely not helping.

Jesus is our only way. He is the only door. If you try any other door to bring you fulfillment if will lead to emptiness, loneliness, and death.

Take heart! Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by ME, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:9-10

I am so glad I woke up from that dream. Thank you Jesus that you saved me! You are my refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Which door will you open?

Blessings to you all!

Johanna

 

Heaven? Never Ending Church Service?

I grew up in church. We went Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and if there was special things going on maybe more. This was the norm and the routine.

Now this is not a anti church post, but more of our view of what Heaven is going to be like. I have to say, for a long time I have always thought heaven is just going to be sitting around for eternity singing songs and well just being at church all the time. This idea of heaven did nothing for my longing for eternity, and as a result effected the way I lived out my faith.

I get these sensations a lot, they don’t last long, maybe not even a second, but its a wave that makes my heart burst with joy and fulfillment. Sometimes music will trigger it, or a smell, or being at a place, or sometimes I can’t even pinpoint the trigger, but as quickly as it comes, it’s gone and I go chasing it to get that sensation again. I think this sensation is a small dose of what eternity will be like. God gives us these glimpses to awaken in us life, abundant life; then we go screw it up by our misplaced desire. C.S. Lewis said the beauty was not in those things, rather it only came through those things.

My husband and I  watch a show called American Pickers. Its a show where these two guys go around the country and pick for antiques and collectibles. Most of the places that they pick from are these people who have been collecting their whole life practically and have so much stuff that it kind of looks like a hoarder. They have so much stuff, you have to climb through it to find the “rusty gold” like they call it. In one of the episodes the collector was asked what got him started collecting, he said, ” It reminds me of the things I grew up with. I don’t really know the attachment, but kind of wish I didn’t have it cause it’s like a disease.” I was taken by his genuine honesty. It got me thinking this guy was chasing after a longing inside him, and by his own admission I don’t think he understood that fully, but what was interesting was his comment about wishing he didn’t have this attachment because it’s like a disease. I could see how all that collecting, searching for that one item would bring that sensation of heaven back, and you might get a glimpse, and then poof it’s gone just as quickly as it came. Then you have to get another item and another, and soon you have barns and barns of stuff, and none of it is doing anything of eternal value. He tapped into something when he said a “disease”. In reality it really is a growing malignancy that he was feeding. All that stuff wasn’t bringing ultimate fulfillment. Was he trusting in the “stuff” for the beauty and sensation of heaven?

Our view of heaven is of the most utmost importance. I know this now. How much we anticipate eternity, will determine how we live our life here on earth. If we give no thought to it or there is no excitement for it, then most likely the way we live our lives on earth will have very little eternal benefit. On the flip side, when we are embracing the longing for eternity and looking on it with great anticipation, the more we will want to live for eternal benefit. God gave us deep longings, but when we trust in anything but Him to fulfill it we end up with a heap of junk, a disease that just grows and grows, and the bigger it gets the harder it is to control.

If we truly believe in eternity with this great anticipation, this gives the motivation to share the gospel. This is what we have to look forward to. Jesus said, “Look, I am making all things new.” That feeling you get when you buy something new, like new car, going on vacation, etc. well thats just a simulated feeling for what Jesus is talking about. I can’t even explain it, but the thought is making me excited. The newness will never where off, and it will be all your longings fulfilled!! And its all IN HIM! Jesus wants you to feel the desires he has placed in you and then trust in Him. Jesus would always question, what are you seeking? What do you want? It all had to do with desire.

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT ETERNITY!?  I hope you will never think of heaven as just a big never ending sing-along again. Go and share this truth the next time you share the gospel. Just asking someone what they want, and what they are seeking can open up doors for them to do their own reflection and then we can say I know who can meet your deepest longing!

He created you, He can complete you!