The Trickle of Time

What lies beyond?

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While watching a video recently and listening to this song I was struck by the image of that ancient tool of time, the hourglass. It made me sigh just a little, since I am not just “over the hill” but getting very close to the bottom of the far side.

And I have a friend who is dying. A friend who does not believe there is anything more than this life. He believes that when those last gains of sand fall into the receptacle on the bottom, that’s it. There will be no one there to turn the hourglass over so we can start again.

That belief saddens me deeply. Because I believe there is one who is waiting for us, a God who is monitoring the inexorable drip of the hourglass of our life, the one who will turn it over and open a new life to us, a life lived forever in His presence.

It makes me think of the place where I went to school, on the shores of a short strip of water called the St. Mary’s River. It joins two of the largest inland bodies of water in the world, Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The high school I attended stood on a hill overlooking that river and the locks that allowed huge ships to pass from one lake to the other. I remember staring out a window before classes began one morning and thinking about the courier du bois, those courageous explorers who paddled canoes from one lake to the other.

I wondered what they must have thought as they came to the end of Lake Huron. They had heard rumours that there was more beyond, (their first nations guides told them so), but I imagine they wondered. Could it really be true? Could there be another lake, larger and more wondrous than the one they had just navigated? I imagined their excitement and fear as they came to the end of the St. Mary’s River and saw that yes, it was true. Lake Superior lay before them.

Just as heaven will one day lay before those who have believed in Jesus, the Christ.

As someone who is getting closer and closer to that moment, I take great comfort in that promise. Unlike those explorers, I have no fear of what is beyond because Jesus has told me, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1- 3, ESV).

It’s that last phrase that excites me but yes, makes me a little nervous, in a way. For how can I, one with so many faults and failings, come face to face with Jesus? But then there is another promise. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1,2, ESV).

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

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Thank you for taking the time to read. I invite you to follow me if you’d like to read more of my work about finding your way home, into the arms of Jesus. 😊 You can find me on Medium.com at Pond’rings and Words on the Wing and a few other publications along the way.

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Love Transforms, Love Demands

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Do you remember your first love?

Picture a sixteen-year-old girl. She’s walking home from school, her shoulders hunched, her eyes on the ground. She’s wearing dark, somber clothing. Her hair often goes unwashed. She rarely makes eye contact with anyone and doesn’t smile much. She doesn’t have many friends.

Fast forward four years. That same girl is wearing a flowing floral dress. Her head is high and her eyes sparkle. Her hair flows out behind her, gleaming in the sun as she runs across her neighbour’s lawn. He hardly recognizes her. “You’re in love,” he says. She laughs and admits that it’s true. And it has made all the difference.

Love does that. It transforms us, it makes us believe that life is good and worth living. It makes us believe we are worthy of being loved. Yes, the discovery of love, especially God’s love, transforms us.

And the Demands of Love work to continue that transformation. Love is never easy. People tend to be complicated and their lives are often messy. Loving well inevitably leads to the need for sacrifice and a selflessness that most of us resist. But we are called to love unconditionally, as Christ loved us. We are called to give much, because much has been given to us. Luke chapter 7: 36 to 47 teaches us this truth. Jesus was invited to have dinner with a Pharisee. A woman who, the Bible tells us, had “lived a sinful life,” arrived with a jar of perfume, poured it on Jesus’ feet and washed them, wiping them with her hair.

When the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Then Jesus tells the Pharisee a story about two people who owed money to a moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both.

“Now which of them will love him more?” Jesus asked. Of course, the Pharisee said the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.

Then Jesus said to him, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (v. 43-47).

Have you been forgiven a little or a lot? I think we can all agree that it is the latter. Yes, we have been forgiven much, we have been given much, and we are expected to forgive, to love well, and give much in return.

Love transforms but love also demands.

 

A Good Cleaning

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It’s that time of year again – time for spring cleaning. We’ve been doing a lot of it lately, and not just in our own home. We’re helping missionary friends get their home ready to be put on the rental market. It’s a big job and when we saw the condition of the house after the last tenants moved out, we despaired of getting it done quickly. But we were thrilled when several people showed up when we called a work bee. They came with rags and mops, rubber gloves and sponges, shovels and rakes, and they set about giving the place a good cleaning.

There was a team assigned to the garage, one inside the house and one outside. Before long the whole area was a hive of activity. I was working with the crew inside so didn’t see what was happening outside until it was almost time to leave. I was stunned when I saw the transformation. When we arrived the yard had been matted with old leaves and grasses, a web of winter mould laying on top. The flower beds were quite ugly, with dead growth carpeting the soil, smothering anything that might have been trying to grow.

Several men had gone to work with rakes and shovels and the result was obvious. I was surprised to even see some green shoots coming up in the lawn. Then a friend pointed out the bright green shoots in the garden – crocuses, tulips and irises were pushing through.

As I bent to examine them it made me think of the work God does in our lives. We sometimes must look as dreary and dead as that yard looked, layered with the leavings of old sin and smothered with the webs of guilt that threaten to smother us. But God is in the business of giving us all a good cleaning.

How thankful we should be that Jesus has cleared all the rubbish away, just as surely as those rakes and shovels cleaned that yard. He did it by his death, the death we will celebrate in only a few short days. It seems odd to say those two words in the same sentence – death and celebrate. His is the only death I know of that is celebrated, by the people who say they love Him. We celebrate it because His death means our release, His suffering means our freedom and His mercy means we will have life everlasting. That’s why we call it Good Friday.

And that’s why we celebrate not just his death but his resurrection.

As Jesus said to his friend, Mary, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26).

Mary said yes. Will you?