Monday, May 27, 2013

Always Hallelujah!

Crashing, ground shaking thunder woke me in the middle of the night. I pull the covers up around my neck and press my head deeper into the pillow, trying to half listen while I sleep. The sound that makes our old Labrador think the end of the world is coming, is the same sound that I love and find comforting.

Thunder and lighting always announces that I am still small and God is still in control.

Around this house I am trying to catch my breath. I've tried to get my head back in the game with naps, going to bed early and even sleeping in till 7:00 a.m. a few times. 

The whole thing, it started last summer. One of our girls, told another one of our girls, that they had this big bright idea, to take a family vacation to celebrate our youngest girl, turning twenty-one. Well they all got excited about it and convinced Jim and I too, that for just this one year, this was the thing to do.

It seemed ridiculous. The destination absurd. After all I have friends going to third world countries. Yes, they are serving up love and Jesus for their "vacations." With extravagant grace, they are building schools, churches and reaching out to touch the hem and hearts of those in deep need. They are blogging about the impact that poverty and need has had on their own impoverished souls. Their photo journalism captures faces with beautiful dark eyes. Windows to their souls that pierce flesh and comfortable hearts, transcending all language and cultural barriers.

Well, our children wanted to go to Las Vegas.

Any clear-thinking, Jesus loving adult, would frown and shake there heads "no-no-no" for the shear thought of going to Vegas for a family  vacation.

And trust me. Many did.

Truth is I was struggling too. While there are children starving for the basics in life, I was heading to a city known for living for it's excess and extravagance.

But the fact is, I live in extravagance every. single. day. of my life.

The week before we were to leave I straight out asked my husband how we got talked into this whole crazy thing. He shook his head and agreed that we might have been too quick to agree. Then he said this: "We just wanted to be with our adult kids and this is where they were going."

I don't know that it was a conscience decision, but I tried to keep the whole thing on the down-low. Seems like too many people knew we were going somewhere though and then they would ask about it. I'd stammer around with vague phrases like, "We are just traveling with our kids..."

Ya. That's it.

They would press, "So, where are you going?"

" La... la.  ...Las Vegas."

With hesitation I would say it.  And too many to count would pause politely and then reply, " can always go see the dam."

We heard it over and over and over. Before we left our home town, in the airport, on the airplane (really) and on the streets when we arrived. It happened often and with such predictability it became kind of a family joke.  It was as if,  touring the dam might redeem the fact that we were going to this particular destination.   It was like,  " ...ummm, you folks from Nebraska ..ya.... you might be more interested in the dam tour. And did you know we have a new bypass bridge?"

There is no doubt that we were out of place. And though we can appreciate that Hoover  Dam is one of the top ten construction achievements of our time and that there is indeed a new bypass bridge, well... we did not see them.

Instead, we got up early, drank amazing coffee and watched people. We walked for miles. We acted like complete tourists, taking pictures of silly things, eating #2 meals from In and Out Burgers, marveled at the fountains and the flora, rode the rollercoaster and one even bought the t-shirt.

We sat under palm trees, floated on the lazy river and ate nachos. We ambled more than once, to a little restaurant that seemed to be a best kept secret, with no long lines and who made fresh guacamole right at your table.

We spent time with each other and were able to see Jims sister and family for the first time in over a decade.

I began to recognize some of the locals too, in our short stay. Six times we passed the woman who played the accordion and sang opera, while curled up in the fetus position pressed up against the wall, just out of the path of the one thousand moving feet walking by. There was the man and his wife, who sat on the one bench, without a sign, staring at the ground, he would call out in a monotone voice with little inflection, "....can you spare a dollar ....wife ....and  ...I ...can ... eat..."  There were multitudes of men and women who snapped cards and pushed them into your face and others. So many others that were trying to sell you a piece of something.

My soul grew heavy for the masses of humanity.  Being pushed along by the crowd, I found myself talking to the Lord and saying...."These people.... You.... You...  You, love them all Jesus?"

Every grasping, pushing, shoving person. Every single stumbling, staggering, staring individual.

You love them.

And isn't that all of us?

Aren't we all just stumbling though this life?  No matter what city we find ourselves in, aren't we are all just passing through? This truth, no matter where we are in the whole wide world is this:

This is not our home. (read here?)

And I like my comfortable little world, on my comfortable little street, in my extremely comfortable little home.


This is not my Home.

And it is good to remember that all of this shall someday pass and we will all stand before the One who is worthy.

The One that Revelations talks of being seated on the Throne. The Lamb who was slain. The One who wants, that not one should perish.

Yes, the One who has placed eternity in the hearts of men.

Everything I do is connected to and part of the journey. This event or that activity does not increase His love for me or for that matter decrease His love for me.

Everywhere I go and everything I do is walking in Him because I carry in me the Hope of Heaven.

And I don't want to see a bridge, I want to be the bridge, to the Eternal Bridge.

Because friends, this world is not our home.

Yes, we went to a beautiful city with many wonders and amazing sights. Then this week I've been reading in Revelations about the Holy City. About the One who rides the white horse. About the One who illuminates Heaven.
     The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,  the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.  And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there.   They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.   

In the book of Revelations we glimpse Jesus on the throne in the eternal city where there is no darkness.

No darkness, ever.

The place where there will always be an hallelujah to the King of Kings.

I want us all to be there together friends. 

 Then he brought them out and said,
 "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
 And they said,
 "Believe in the Lord Jesus,
 and you will be saved...."
  Acts 16:30-31

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