Thursday, July 28, 2005

T-minus 4 days and counting

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...(Philippians 4:13)

If it's gonna get done, You're gonna have to do it
Then this world will come to see Your power thru it
Father, I trust you - I believe it's true
If it's gonna get done, it's gonna have to come from You...

(The Martins, "If It's Gonna Get Done," from the Experiencing God CD)

Can I hand you the packing tape, Lord?

Gads, I hate this. I'm at the "find a box and throw crap in it" stage of the game - because while I have 97% of this kind of book and 99.5% of the CD's and 96% of the videos in boxes, I've got at least five boxes worth of "it just won't fit where it's supposed to, but I'm not ready to throw it out yet." Gaaaaagh....

The shelves and the dresser drawers are getting emptier...I'm finding things I thought I'd lost forever (or thought I'd already thrown out), and it's just insane. I know "this, too, will pass..." but so far, it seems like gallstones. I think I'm gonna have to take off part of Friday (though I really don't want to) if I have a prayer of getting this done in time.

The weather is a great break - at 7:15 AM, it was a blessed 56 degrees outside. I slept with the windows open for the first time since, oh, May, I think. It was beautiful. These old brick buildings sure know how to hold the heat, though...

It's funny - as I was driving into work yesterday, hitting the scan button, I caught a bit of David Jeremiah's study of the book of Revelation on his Turning Point radio program. Dr. Jeremiah was discussing the whole Tribulation discussion - whether the church will be raptured before the Tribulation, in the midst of it, or after it. His arguments were clear, cogent, seemingly well-reasoned....

...and God help me, but I could really care less.

And it has nothing to do with the move, or being distracted, or short of patience, or anything like that. But people who argue about how and when (and whether) the church is going to be taken up to Heaven before everything here on Earth goes to Hell has never engaged me much before, and engages me even less now.

Why, you ask?

It comes down to this: Jesus told us that "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (Matthew 24:36, NRSV). And I get kind of tired of arguing about how the world ends, because it's so easy to get distracted from the very real challenges of the here-and-now, and focus on the supposedly sweet-by-&-by, when all the Godly people get swept up to Heaven.

And part of it, I suppose, comes from the legalistic scorekeeping faith I had as a kid, that said if I'd confessed just enough of my sins to be 50.000001% good and 49.999999 bad, I'd get taken up. My fear, for a great deal of my life, was knowing there was just one too many sins that I'd forgotten to confess, and I'd be "left behind." (Actually, it wasn't a fear - it was pretty much a certainty.)

Today, I know that the absolute knowledge of my sinfulness, and faith in Christ, is at the heart of my salvation. In short, I know I'm a schmuck, with no hope of heaven except for a loving and merciful God. I can't buy into the "Oh, I'm a pretty good person" defense - because I know I'm not.

I have to trust 1 John 1:8-9 - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Because I know that with my dying breath, I'll probably manage to utter some blasphemy that a just God could use to keep me out of the Kingdom - but that a merciful God has already sent his Son to redeem.

So you can study Revelation to your heart's content. I happen to love the first three chapters - the letters to the churches. But the rest? It's an amazing, powerful vision, but whatever calling I have is to sharing God's love right now, in this world, and leave the end of it in the very capable hands of the One who formed it in the first place.

Back to the boxes...

8 comments:

Deanne said...

I'm with you; discussions of "the end times" give me such tired head.

I hope the rest of your packing and your move go smoothly. And do take part of Friday off if you can; the peace of mind (or something close to it) that the extra time will give you will be well worth it.

Dale said...

Steve:
"but whatever calling I have is to sharing God's love right now, in this world" - Agree with you 100% on this. I find people get to wrapped up in the end times they forget their purpose here.

Good luck with the packing!

Michael said...

I have a vivid memory of worrying that the Rapture would come while I was sitting on the toilet with my pants down and I would still be struggling to pull them up as I went up into the sky. I guess I didn't want to embarrass anyone, because of course all eyes at the end of the world would be on ME!

[rhymes with kerouac] said...

Call me a slow learner, but it took me forever to realize that the book is called, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." I thought it was all about seals and trumpets and plagues and bad stuff happening to even badder people. When I began to see it was actually about Jesus everything changed. The pictures it presents of the Lamb alone are worth the price of admission.

theopraxis had a terrific series on this recently - he talked about 'rescuing' the whole end times scenario from it's current incarnation and seeing it as a message of hope. Hope indeed.

And I hate moving too. It's always like you describe in the last few days. I saw a stress evaluation once that listed moving as an indicator only once removed from the death of a family member. Hang in there, buddy!

APN said...

Once again, I hate plugging my own material, but rather than write a beautifully cogent & well-reasoned response to further corroborate our seemingly mutually shared distaste for all things "end-times," I think I'll just direct you fine folks to my blog and a post I made last week. There, you'll get at a chance to read some of Jason Boyett's new book on all the end-times hoopla. Enjoy....

Im A Foto Nut said...

Go on wityaownbadself! My thoughts exactly.

Also, I have heard it said that each time you move you will find something you lost the in the last move, and loose something new in this one.

My stuff has been in storage for so long, it is going to be like Christmas when I finally get back on my own. I'll be saying, "Oh, I forgot I had this." all day long.

Poor Mad Peter said...

The temptation to escape the present for "end times" is a powerful one. Just hand me the package tape, Steve amn, and we'll schlep this baby outta here. Which way's the door?

Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

At: http:://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman