Saturday, March 28, 2009

This Ain't Heaven!

Photo image property of Barbara K Dittrich, 2009
"The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul."
~ Deuteronomy 26:16, NIV ~

Read Deuteronomy 26:16-28:68

The joke goes like this:
A guy dies. As he reaches the afterlife, into the room walks Jimi Hendrix. "Wow!", he says. "This must be heaven!" Hendrix says, "Trust me, man, this ain't heaven." Next, Keith Moon walks into the room. "Wow!" the deceased says, "This must be heaven!" Moon replies, "No way, man. This ain't heaven." Things get even wilder as Kurt Cobain strolls in. The dead man can hardly contain himself. "Wow! This has to be heaven!" Cobain assures him, "Dude, this sure ain't heaven!" Finally, Karen Carpenter comes into the room and announces, "Okay, band, on the the count of 3, 'Close to You..'"

If you get that joke, you're as much of a washed-up rocker as I am. And you also get the sick sense of things being not-quite-right that characterizes our world.

It is no secret that all of humanity struggles with the questions of why suffering exists. We see situations like 911 and world starvation, and we wonder how it's fair that agony like this should occur. Certainly we feel that stinging sense of injustice when we look at our child living with special needs.

I don't want to be overly simplistic, but God warned us it would be like this. In the lengthy Bible passage I cite today, Our Maker sets forth blessings if He is obeyed and every sort of tragedy imaginable if He's not. True to form, those being addressed by Moses didn't take long to break every single one of God's rules. Arrogantly thinking they could comply with God's guidelines, they are famous for their disobedience.

The point is this: We live in a fallen world. We cannot expect the perfection of heaven in our imperfect world. Even if we would believe that we are obeying God flawlessly, our culture provides daily evidence that the world around us isn't. One can hardly stomach a newscast with its announcements of every sort of deranged behavior, beyond anything we could think of. Unfortunately, as long as we exist in this world, we will be subjected to the short-comings of all around us. That includes disease, poverty, injustice and suffering of every kind.

Knowing this should make each of us more passionately seek after the hope of heaven. By the salvation of Jesus, we can look forward to a place where every wrong is made right. And certainly, it won't be a place where we run into Karen Carpenter's pick-up band!

~ Barb Dittrich

1 comment:

  1. Each and every day I am aware of the fact that earth is not my real home. The older I become, I am more and more homesick. We live in the world, but we are not of it. Yet, to live in this world and do your best to not be of it is a difficult task. People want to pull you into what they are doing, and when you want to walk your way, we are faced with rejection. It is at those times that I am comforted by Jesus' words that we will have trouble in this world. It lets me know that what I am facing is just one more obstacle that I have to get over before I can go home to be with my Maker.