Monday, June 25, 2012

The Gate of Heaven

The beautiful purple flowers in my great room look so real that they fool everyone. And what I love about my lovely purple flowers, is unlike real flowers, they will not wilt or perish. Oh how we humans long for permanence!

I called my senior friend, near 94 year old Comer. I had called him right before our week at the beach, and he was doing very poorly. He didn't sound much better yesterday when he answered the phone. I had been working on my book about WW2, of which Comer is my prime subject. I felt a strong prompting to call him right away.

"I thought I would expire on Tuesday," he told me, "My organs are all fine, but I am just so weak, can't even get out of bed. What really bothers me is our book. I told my daughter, I would sure like to read my book! What if I don't last long enough to read Vicky's book about me? But my daughter said, 'Daddy, you ARE the book. You lived it. Don't worry about the book.'"
"Comer, the rough draft is done, or nearly done, at least the part about you is. It is very rough, no editing but if you like, I can copy that much for you so you can read it. Just remember, it won't be in its final form or nearly as good as it will be when I rework it."
"I trust you," he said, "If I should pass, you just use your imagination and you finish it as you see fit."
I wrote myself a note to copy the 250 pages I had and bring them to Comer in the morning.
"Well Comer, you rest, and I will call in a couple of days to see if you are feeling better, ok?"
I was about to hang up, when he said, "Vicky, there's something I need to know."
"Should I still trust in Jesus?"

I understood the question. Here was an old man, with a wife dying of Alzheimers. He had been a vital, strong man and his own mind was still sharp and alert. His wife still needed him, and his body had failed him. Lord, give me words....

"Comer, above all else, still trust in Jesus."
"My prayers don't seem to be working," he said.
"I don't claim to have any great knowledge," I told him, "But this is what I think. God is good. He has proved that to me, and to you, over and over again. Think of how many miraculous times he preserved you in the war. He was saving you for a purpose. You have lived a long and fruitful life. Every one of us clings to the desire for youth, and strength, and vigor, but every one of us will feel our body fail. Our friends will fail us, our family will fail us. In the end, the only thing that will stand firm is our faith in Jesus, and His promises will not fail. You will stand before Him with a new body, healed of all sadness and disease and struggle, and Evelyn will be there with you. No Alzheimers in Heaven! I often wonder what age we will be in Heaven, but I like to think that we will be whatever our favorite age was here on earth. I understand that right now, it doesn't feel like God is good, but if you think over your life, I will bet it was during the times of the most struggle that you matured and changed."
"That is true," he said.
"Like when you didn't pass the Bar exam, I remember you telling me how devastated you were. But in the end, it made you take a completely unexpected career path, and it was the best thing that ever happened to you."
"You are right about that!"
"I think there are two responses to struggle, and trials. We can become bitter and angry and rail against God, and abandon Him. Many people do that. Or we can trust that there is a purpose in all our trials, though we may not always see or understand the purpose. We can trust that God is good, and all things that happen will ultimately lead us to the best place we should be. I think if God let us remain young, and strong, and filled with all the beauty and skill of youth, none of us would long for heaven. But this body was never meant to be permanent. Earth was never meant to be our final home. It is when we grow old, and weary that we long to move on to a better place. It doesn't feel like a kindness from God, but I believe it is. I think it is our struggles that make us lean on Him and trust Him. We will lose everything else, but we won't lose Him. And in the end, we will have all the best."
"I am so glad I spoke with you," said Comer, "I was feeling mighty low, and I wondered if I should still trust Jesus. But what you are saying, it makes sense."
"I think of how so often my children didn't like what I made them go through, or my rules, or the consequences of their behavior. At times, I know they felt I was cruel. To them, it felt cruel not to have all the icecream they wanted! But with my experience and age and greater vision of the whole of their life, I knew what was needed better than they did with their limited perspective. What felt to them like cruelty was in fact my greatest moments of love and kindness. God is our heavenly Father. He has a perspective we cannot have, and He loves us. If nothing else, still trust in Jesus."
"I promise you, I will," said my old friend with more strength in his voice.

As I type this, the beautiful purple flowers are right beside me, the fake flowers that look so real but whose petals will never droop. On the other hand, they also will never smell as intoxicatingly sweet as the flowers of the field.

Genesis 28:15-17 (NIV)
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. ” [16] When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” [17] He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

-save a dog-

1 comment:

  1. Vicky, How beautifully said. Thank you.