Well, needless to say, last night was a little scary. It was a typical Wednesday, but a good one with our middle and high school students as I wrapped up a 4-week series challenging them not to settle for an ordinary life, but to allow God to invade their lives – giving them a life beyond their dreams – based out of John 10:10. Jesus says, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I came so that they can have real and eternal life, a better life than you’ve ever dreamed of.”
I also shared about Paul, who after God radically invaded his life, wrote these words: “I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:20-21). How can death be better than life? Because finally our heart’s longing is resolved when we are face to face with our Creator. To life for Christ is great – to be with Christ is even greater!
The concept of living for eternity was challenged last night as I found myself riding in an ambulance heading to the ER. I came home after eating with our HS students and got my allergy shot – a normal routine… especially considering I’ve been getting shots since I was eleven years old. But after the shot, something felt wrong. Moments later the ambulance was on the way because I was broken out in hives, red from head to toe, shivering uncontrollably, vomiting and having trouble breathing… I was on my way toward anaphylactic shock. That’s never happened before and Brooke did a great job taking care of me until the EMT’s arrived.
Somehow, in the middle of it all, while riding in the ambulance, I found myself wondering if I really believed that to be with Christ in Heaven would be better than living for Him here on earth. After all, I had just challenged my students to develop that mindset. My heart and values were challenged as I thought about my wife and children and the life on earth I would leave behind.
I wish I could say that my heart leapt at the thought of leaving this earth and being united with Christ in Heaven. I do believe my soul would echo that sentiment and I know I believe it is true, but wow does that get hard to put your arms around when it is put to the test in your life!
I had some more time in the wee hours of the morning to think while sitting in the ER waiting to be allowed to go home. I prayed that my heart would long for eternity than the trappings of this world. I prayed that I would be able to not just believe Paul’s challenge to live for eternity, but that I would do it!
I was able to come home around 2:30 in the morning and everything is back to normal… or is it? That was my first ambulance ride and I’m not looking forward to do that again. But I am looking forward… or maybe you could say striving to look more eternal!