“Heaven is not here, it’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”- Elisabeth Elliot
Last week, I was going to make Hugh the perfect pancakes.
Perfect because they included all the things currently deemed healthy; perfect because it was a Monday morning and I, being the all-American wife (ha), was going to get up bright and early and have his piping hot, nutritionally-sound breakfast waiting by his Bible.
They were disgusting.
Like, not the kind of disgusting that you can rationalize. The kind that you don’t even put in your dog’s bowl because the Spirit inside of you reminds you it wouldn’t be right to let any living creature consume what you just created.
In full disclosure, I didn’t take a picture of my pancakes. But if you can imagine chalky and chunky and gooey (if that combination is possible), you have a pretty good idea. I googled, “healthy pancake fail” and even the worst picture I found looked better than what was on Hugh’s plate.
So, instead of Hugh starting his Monday off on the right foot, he attempted to stomach approximately three and a half bites of said breakfast (despite my strong discouragement to not put himself through it) and left the house probably feeling nauseous.
This morning, I was determined to make all wrongs right. I found a recipe that included three-fourths heathy and one-fourth normal (because I am pretty positive that’s where I went wrong in the first place. Moderation, right?) As I flipped the last pancake onto a plate, I smiled in satisfaction. They looked good. I tried a bite- they tasted good. Success, right?
There was still something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but they simply weren’t the best pancakes I had ever put in my mouth. They didn’t require a whole bottle of maple syrup, but it certainly didn’t hurt. My expectations still not quite met. I wanted this:
Now, mind you- I haven’t tasted these; but by the looks of them, Emma’s Kitchen had conquered the pancake beast a touch more than myself.
You can certainly start sending me all your full-proof, decently nutritional pancake recipes, but on this Saturday morning, I have a simple truth I want to share with each of you:
Heaven is not here, it’s there.
Friends, until we meet Jesus face-to-face, our flesh is still going to be very present in all that we are and all that we do.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”- Romans 7:15,16
This truth is our reality each and every day. Yes- if you are a Christ-follower, you have freedom to choose to allow the Spirit to do the walking and talking and reacting and acting instead of the flesh- yet, don’t miss this- while on earth, sometimes, the flesh is going to be more obvious than the Spirit within. Always. We are never going to reach a point on this side of heaven in which sanctification is fully complete and we are like Jesus in all that we are and all that we speak and all that we do.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”- 1 Corinthians 13:12
The beautiful, amazing, undeserving, life-changing truth is that the God of the universe sees you through the greater reality of His perfect, spotless Son. Heaven is not here, it’s there- yet, praise be to God, He is already in heaven, seeing us as Jesus!
Friends, if we spend our entire lives disappointed because the pancakes aren’t perfect- we are going to absolutely waste our days. Focusing on the imperfections- blaming it on a type A personality- is not holy- it’s distrusting of a Holy God who has already deemed you righteous through Jesus.
Life with our girls has taught me so much about looking at the bigger picture instead of individual snapshots. And, wonderfully so, this has allowed me to live much more freely and enjoy each and every moment more fully, not less. Yesterday morning started out in the ER. Ally had a seizure that would not stop- that went on for thirty minutes even with emergency meds. This has never happened before, and the temptation to base our entire day on these few hours would have certainly been there a few months prior. But now? Now, I can see that while the day started out at Children’s, it ended with giggles and laughs and ice cream and less brain misfiring.
Still not in full, but in part- yet, having no expectations for the whole there, here; and simply being grateful for the glimpses of heaven we get to participate in along the way.
On this beautiful Saturday, friends, might we take our eyes off of the things that aren’t as we feel they should be- the relationships that we wish we could change, the personalities that aren’t behaving as we wished, the circumstances that we had hoped would be different- and instead, might we not only accept but also find hope in the fact that the perfect pancakes are waiting for us in heaven and heaven alone. May we enjoy each and every mili-second of a moment in light of that truth- putting no expectations on ourselves or on those around us- finding all our satisfaction in the only One who truly satisfies.
All glory to Him and Him alone.
“Find rest in God alone. Your hope comes from Him.”- Psalm 62:5, emphasis mine