Trading up

"Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matt. 24:42). There was nothing very cheering in that. I felt a real repugnance to be always on the watch, thinking I might die at any moment. I am sure I am not fit to die. Besides, I want to have a good time with nothing to worry me. I hope I shall live ever so long. Perhaps in the course of forty or fifty years I may get tired of this world and want to leave it.
~ Elizabeth Prentiss,
Stepping Heavenward

Do you ever wonder how the thing that we are clinging to compares with what God has in store for us? My Grandma Fern fought hard for the last fifteen years of her life, surviving many deathbeds to be with us all and work for Christ here on earth for another season. This photo is her 80th birthday "crown", which she gave to my girls afterward and they play with still. It was glistening in the light, abandoned on my kitchen tiles in the cool, austere sunlight of a late September morning. This $2 piece of man-made plastic, spray painted silver and encrusted with glossy "jewels", marked one of Grandma's last celebrations on earth. Just think what a crown she is wearing right now, walking the streets of heaven in conversation with Jesus Himself!

I am afraid of so many things, and cling so desperately to what I know and love already. It almost seems like it would be better to live with a tumor I know about (and is probably slow-growing) than to face unknown treatments, unknown complications, separations for undetermined lengths of time, unknown secondary risks related entirely to the treatment itself. In addition, weaning is not going well, and I question why God would have me wean my son - I worry that our bond will never be the same once I "wound" him by denying him his main source of comfort and food; I worry that his health will never be the same again, as he already shows signs of food allergies or sensitivities; I worry that I will not be able to stand being "replaceable" after being such a key part of his (and his sisters) subsistence for so long. Yet I peer "through a glass, darkly" (II Corin. 3) at the prospect of what God might have laid out before me and keep stepping forward, praying "always, with all...supplication" (Eph. 6:18) that this cloud of sorrow I am passing through will lift in the days to come.

I'm trading my sickness,
I'm trading my pain,
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed, but not crushed; persecuted, not abandoned,
Struck down, but not destroyed,
I'm blessed beyond the curse, for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night,
His joy comes with the morning

Darrell Evans, Trading My Sorrows (Yes, Lord)