I got a phone call yesterday and the entire time I was talking, I was thinking of what great blog material it would make. That's telling in many ways. Let me elucidate. For one thing, I realized that I view everything in my life through the lens of this page, how I write about it, how it looks through the spectacles of eternity, with all the corpus of scripture at my disposal. And I just love living this way. Secondly, I was aware of how transparent I've been and am about to be in this blog in particular. And thirdly, the past of which I write today is nothing but sand in my life. Not rock. Thankfully, God didn't allow me to build my life there.
When I transferred to Oregon half-way through college, on my very first day a boy struck up a conversation with me, and when he walked away, I turned to the girl next to me and said, "That's the one." (it's hard to think of him as a man. Looking back, he seems very much like a boy to me, and a ridiculous boy at that!). And we did end up dating. In fact, the summer I turned 22, he asked me to marry him. However, our relationship was always difficult. I was always certain, he was always less so. What I think is true is that he allowed my certainty about us to spill over and persuade him some of the time. At other times, he drew back and treated me very shabbily. He loved Jesus, but we were very different. He wasn't a very good student and I loved to learn. But I held on with great tenacity, and he used that. But finally we broke up--or rather, he called off our wedding, and it broke my heart. And though he wandered back into my life, God graciously saw to it that in the end, I made the choice to walk away, and stay away. And that led me to health, the Beve, to the rock that is my life.
So SK handed me the phone, saying, "It's AC." Great, I thought, mentally rolling my eyes. Two years ago, out of the blue, on the day after my beloved purebred yellow lab died, he called. It was a stupid, ridiculous phone call, meaningless. I never got around to even asking him why he'd called. I was in a fog that day, home alone and crying for my Jemima and he was a way to pass the time. Yesterday I was in my right mind, with a house full of people. SK, the Beve, LB (our Chinese friend). And, it was 3 o'clock in the morning where he lives in France. Oh yes, he lives in France and calls me in the dead of night. What's wrong with his life? Beve said I should have asked him about his marriage--I didn't want to sound that interested.
On his mind was to ask me, "How is Jesus doing in Washington?"
"Just fine," I answered.
"So do you believe in healing and raising the dead?" he asked. I remember this, I thought. The night before my wedding, he and another annoying friend showed up at my house and wanted to talk about language barriers in missions. I can hardly believe I ever felt as I did...but I've had that sensation more than once before thinking of my youthful feelings.
"Are you being sarcastic?"
"No. I think that people don't teach correctly about healing in the states. Too many people are dying--from cancer and other things. Christians just pray, If it's God's will, as if they don't know that it's His will to heal everyone. So people die before their time. You people are all weak of faith."
Okay, let me tell you, my blood was boiling. First of all, here's a man who hasn't lived in the states for 20 years--so what the heck does he know about 'our' faith? But I didn't say that. I did say, "Listen, there are only two ways off this planet. One is when Jesus raises those who are left on the final day. The other is death.
Everyone--EVERYONE--will die of something. (However, when I told the Beve this, he said, "well there are rockets, the Space Shuttle, the Space Station!...) The only question is when. 'Our times are in His hands.' the Psalmist says. There's never enough time, in our economy. I personally prayed long and hard for both my mother-in-law and my father, who each died before I would have liked. One from cancer, one from the scars of it. You don't think I prayed? I still miss my dad so much I could cry every day. But I'll tell you this. Dad knew Jesus, loved Jesus. And I'd much rather he went home when he did, knowing Jesus, than have been simply healed physically to live without Him for 20 more years. The healing of the body lasts only so long, the healing of our souls is eternal. In the end I just have to lift my hands away from it and trust God, the healer for His healing, whatever that is, wherever that is--here on earth, or the complete healing that comes in heaven."
He was completely silent.
And that's my point today. We all die. Knowing and loving Jesus is so much more important than life in the body it doesn't even come close. "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." I don't care what it takes, that's what I want for others. Let's keep things in perspective, people.
When I hung up the phone, I found the Beve and gave him a hug.
And I'm considering changing our phone number