January. The beginning of a bright, new year filled with potential moments of life and experiencing the blessings of another day. However, as I reflect on last year and anticipate 2014, I am very aware that my time is limited and that, in reality, I am dying. I am not promised tomorrow…not even today! I don’t know how much time I have left, but I can definitely see the symptoms of being in the dying process.
I see myself in the stark and bare trees all around me. Although they are still very much alive, there is the distinct evidence of them letting go of the beauty and splendor they used to have. Although they will bloom again, they are dying to what they were this summer. My life seems to ebb just like the nature surrounding me.
You see, this life is slowly losing its grip on me. The things that used to satisfy mean less and less. I’m less frequently looking at what this earth has to offer because when I do, I continue to be disillusioned and disappointed. I see the pain and loss in the empty faces of those who are hurting, lonely, and grieving. I hear their heart breaking stories as they cry, “Why, God?” in the midst of the suffering. I ache because of the brokenness that is all around me. I feel the frustration and disappointments at the loss of my own dreams. The things and relationships that I thought would satisfy only leave me feeling empty. A part of me is dying each day.
With each new year, I seem to become more aware of this process happening deep within. With each miscarriage that I’ve experienced, a part of me has also died. Since the death of our sixteen year old son, a huge part of my heart is no longer here on earth. When I am misunderstood in a relationship which means a lot to me, another part of me begins to die.
I’m sure that many of you can identify to these feelings that I am describing. However, before you label me as a complete pessimist, let me assure you that I have good news for you, and we won’t be ending on a sour note! This is exactly where God wants you to be! Instead of yearning for what this world has to offer, it is time to begin yearning for what ONLY God can offer to you. The good things He gives to us here on earth were never meant to completely satisfy. If they would, we would never have a desire for heaven.
I believe God looks down from heaven and is grieved by how we continue to yearn and strive for what was never meant to be experienced on earth, since the fall of man. In the beginning of time, this life was to be a paradise, bringing fulfillment and complete satisfaction. However, after man’s choice to sin, God was gracious and merciful and made a way for us to again encounter what His original plan was for us. In spite of that, we continue to focus on the wrong thing. Instead of complaining and being ungrateful for what we don’t have, why aren’t we rejoicing in what we have to look forward to?
Our lives on earth can be compared to the cold and dreariness of a bone-chilling January day. As I looked out of our windows all day today, I was unable to see the blue skies or feel the warmth of the sunshine. Instead, we were enveloped in a cloud of fog which brought a dampness and chill along with it. Although I don’t particularly like this kind of weather, I know that it is temporary, and I may see the sun shining tomorrow. Best of all, spring is coming!
In Matthew 6:21, God’s word says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Too many of us still have our hearts set on the “treasures” of this earth. However, it’s time to begin the dying process. Some of us may receive the diagnosis of physically dying from cancer, heart disease, or some other terminal condition, in 2014. Just as there are symptoms in this process, our unmet longings and frustrated yearnings should be the symptoms or reminders of our ultimate “healing” and what is yet to come. Instead of looking to people, positions, or possessions for significance or fulfillment, we should be able to view our symptoms as a gentle reminder from our Great Physician. He is longing to lovingly embrace us in His arms and to wipe away the sting of death from us forever.
When will you begin preparing for eternity? What will it take for you to focus on heaven rather than on the charms of this world? When we die physically, we exchange a life of pain for a life of promise. The more you die to this earth and all it has to offer, the more you truly live! Instead of focusing on your loss, you can have true joy when you focus on what you have to gain. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Let’s make 2014 a new year with a new focus! Let’s die to what this world has to offer and fix our eyes more intently upon heaven. As we anticipate all that we have to look forward to in eternity, we can be filled with a joy that is so much greater than our circumstances. So count your blessings on these chilly and dreary days. Look forward to the sunshine. You may be dying, but resurrection day is coming. Rejoice!
~Cindy (For the Mullett Family)