I remember as a kid, once in a great while my parents, particularly my Dad, would reward us by taking us to Toys R Us to spend thirty dollars each on anything we wanted. I think it was when my Dad had his own business for a few years and he had some extra money. I was on the treadmill today (when I do my major thinking) trying to remember what I ever got. I can not for the life of me remember one single thing. Not one. This is what I do remember though: walking from the car to the store. I remember the parking lot. I remember the yellow lines on the asphalt, I remember skipping there and saying, "Thirty whole dollars on anything I want?" I remember being blissfully happy. And that is it. I don't remember going in the store, I don't remember getting that Cabbage Patch Kid or Strawberry Shortcake or Barbie. Heck, I have no clue what I got. None at all. It's a mystery to me, honey.

People that say "Lord willing" this or that or who say "unless Jesus comes first!" with a look of glee on their faces always bothered me. Somehow it made me annoyed, like they must think they have it altogether or maybe they are more spiritual than the rest of us sinners. I don't know. The feelings are a bit muddled and make no sense, really. I think maybe it is a sort of jealousy, wanting that anticipation they have but have no feeling to back it because I am emotionally bankrupt myself, wrapped up in a full, damp, sheet of numbness. Then I think about wanting something so badly and then finally getting it and not caring anymore whether I got it or not; yes, it has been had and conquered.

But the coming of Christ is not like that. Getting a Cabbage Patch Kid that will later sit in some toy box, or actually, some dump in fifteen years does not come close to the reward of truly anticipating Jesus arriving and all the wonders of what that entails. There will not be a disappointment after our excitement before the arrival, this time things will be different. There will actually be a reward, a new sort of euphoria after the receiving that will never wane. Our sinful hearts will not get in the way, our temptation to forget and cast this "new thing" aside will never be there, and we will finally be where we were always meant to be: truly with God.

So how could I think that those who anticipate the Lord's coming are looking down on me or have something I don't? They don't have something I lack, they just remind themselves, are vocal about it, and remember. They care to remember, and I think God honors that.

I guess my whole point, or rather, what my thought process led me to while I was pounding my joints on that stupid treadmill was this: the anticipation is what we remember when we look back at our memories. That longing is what sticks with us. We long for things, but if you look at the man after God's own heart, he longed for God. He did not displace his longing, he knew that God was the only one who could save him, preserve him, fight for him. He used music as a reminder to long after Him. He was pretty smart, I think.

To me, being the pessimist I always am, this kind of longing, the longing for Christ's return, is the only longing that has an untainted end, complete fulfillment, and never-ending pleasure. Call me a heretic.


KingJaymz said...

"Call me a heretic." Someone joining my ranks? Alright!

Seriously, I love your perspective on this. It gives me hope and joy to think of it this way. I like that. I may have to use that in a teaching.

You talk of Toys "R" Us and you grew up in the same geographical region I did. You are not old! I remember when our state capitol FINALLY got one! Fred Meyers didn't even carry toys year round until I was like 6 or 7. You are young.

KingJaymz said...

First (and second)!!! W00t w00t

~Jennifer said...

I can understand that lack of longing, and the longing to long. How's that for a convoluted statment?

Anyway, I wish I longed for eternity and standing face to face with Jesus more. I'm willing to be longing for that, but the reason I don't so much, I think is that I just can't wrap my mortal brain around what eternity looks like, let alone looking directly into the eyes of God. I try sometimes and I end up freaking myself out a little (or a lot).

Emma Sometimes said...

Well, I would as much call you heretic as any other negative name in the book??????

Your 'Lord willing' statement has always puzzled me.

You wonder, if they really are ready to meet their Maker.

Then I ask if I am ready? No, and why not? I think the preparedness of being ready (at any time) to leave this earth and see God face to face is overwhelming to me, leaving me asking many questions.

Have I offended someone and not apologized? Will I leave behind a wonderful legacy for my kids? Have I put down my grudges against others? Is my house in order (house, as in me, not my living quarters).

If one could say yes, then that is a huge declaration for anyone to make. I honestly admire those who can easily say in a simple "Lord Willing" that are that prepared because I often feel like I am not....so I can see how one would feel judged under that declaration.

Anyway, that's just how I look at it.

R said...

Jared--No, I am not old, 29. I am getting up there though! Ha ha! No, I did live in ID for about ten years, but I grew up in California. There were Toys R Us stores everywhere there. We probably went to the one in Santa Ana or something.

Yeah, Fred Meyer. I haven't seen one of those in a long time. There is a really cool one in Brookings, OR. Dear Sir and I honeymooned near there and enjoyed the massive Fred Meyer.

Jennifer---I feel the same way.

Emma---Yeah, it is almost silly to think this way of judgment because someone perhaps sees things you don't see, but I think a little different now. At least I am trying. I am judging these people, really. I am not giving them the benefit of the doubt; perhaps they are very humble people!

JRH said...

Interesting thoughts! You made me think this morning. I appreciate that.

Check out James 4:13-16. I suppose the folks who say "God willing..." are trying to follow that admonition. Unfortunately, they often just end up sounding like weirdos or sometimes even condescending. I think James is talking about living with an eternal perspective; understanding that this is not all there is and that God is in control. He's the one driving the bus and we're along for the ride. What we're doing as we travel along seems important, but our bus seat here is not our ultimate destination. Perhaps we just need to be more like our kids and keep asking "When are we gonna get there?"

Okay, end of sermon. :-)

R said...

Yeah, I know the James connection, thanks for pointing that out. It is good that the post made you think of eternal perspective because that is exactly what I wanted you to think!!! :)

I always think of "Lord Willing" and all that in line of "it won't happen unless Jesus comes back..." Or something like that. I know that a person can get in a wreck and not make it to an appointment or a ball game or something if the Lord wills.

Thank you for pointing out those things, I need reminding, and frankly, you get an A+.

Dapoppins said...

and here I am, forgetting were my treasure is. It thought it was the vacume at Best Buy. Turns out, NOT.

R said...

You are too cute, Dapoppins.

shealyisnottheantichrist said...

I refuse to call you a heretic. I actually was labeled a heretic by an elder from That Church in Moscow, Idaho, no less, and I was excommunicated in Boise. In between, I was arrested and convicted. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. I bet I am your most colorful relative!!

I love this memory of your father.

I remember picking out a teddy bear for my birthday when I was about 6, with my dad. Much more often, I remember picking up pizza and beer on Friday nights, or sitting with him in the bar at the American Legion and drinking an Orange Nehi. Treasure your memories.

The Woman said...

When we were little, Ann and I would be given a dollar. I always bought the same thing. A bag of Barbie accessories. Boots, shoes, and always a record player. Man, I loved those!

Here, the expression is, "If the Lord is willin' and the creek don't rise!"

You do some good thinking on that treadmill of yours... :o)

Ba Doozie said...

Interesting point about anticipation. Many times it is that anticipation that keeps us going, we need to have things to look forward to, activities and such. But once the event happens, I feel sort of deflated. Or I feel like it was not as fun as I had anticipated.

Oh well.

As for the other, I don't mind thinking of When Christ comes again, I welcome it. Life kind of bums me out. Sometimes I feel like my desire for the end is selfish because others might not be ready

Carolanne said...

There was a boss I had once and he always said, "Lord willing" but it didn't seem to me like he was anticipating the Lord's return. It was more like a condition, Lord willing, I will see you tomorrow", "Lord willing, we'll go to the zoo". When he said it like that, it almost sounded like it's what "I" want to do but God might not want me to do it. Does that make sense?

However, I like the way you've explained it! I like the way you talked about it being an anticipation of the Lord's return and in fact, longing for His return.

But like Jennifer and Emma said, it is pretty awesome and overwhelming to really consider that we would be in the Lord's presence.

Thanks for this post and I'm also thankful for the comments too. You're making me think.

R said...

Shealy---you are indeed one of my more colorful relatives, but only because you are so amazing.

Thank you for reminding me of what a wonderful memory of my Dad this is. He did teach me many things, and I can post those later, I suppose. I like that memory of your dad.

Woman---I am glad I am not a crazy person. Sometimes I think I am because some crazy thoughts come to my head while I run. Argh. I love remembering times when simple things were so amazing to me as a kid. Nothing beats it.

Ba Doozie---You have a good outlook, I think. I welcome His coming too because I know it will not be the end. It will be the beginning of true life.

Carolanne---Yeah, that is a good point. I know some people say it to mean that, perhaps all, but I think of Christ coming back whenever some one says it for some reason. I mean, I know it is submitting to God's control, but I immediately think directly after that thought of His return. Maybe it is me who thinks too much about His return, thinking others think of it more than me! :) I should have cleared that up in my post, but I always think every one thinks like me! What a dolt I am! Ha ha!

I hope you are doing better and your umbrella is replaced.

The good thing about being in the Lord's presence among all the overwhelming aspects of it, is that God will make us presentable, He will make us prepared for it as His own children. I remember The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and how all the people would be in this heavenly land but everything physically hurt, like, everyone had to be toughened up somehow to experience the true shining presence of the Lord in the heights. Like it is said, we will be transformed out of this state of being into a perfect one and God will be the one doing it. Who knows if it will hurt but we don't have to do it!!!

Now THAT's a relief!