Deep

(I wrote this on paper 3 weeks ago, but did not get a chance to type it out)

I am sitting here ready to board an airplane.  My husband and kids are at home.  I am traveling solo, so I have a little “quiet” time, and I am reflecting on this verse:

“Yet I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And the earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:23-26).

I am not afraid of flying.  I am pretty sure I have boarded an airplane every year (sometimes several times a year) since 1980.  Let’s just say, I have been on a lot of airplanes.

Now that I am a wife and a mom, if I fly without my husband and kids, flying feels a lot more vulnerable than it did as a kid.  I am still not afraid of flying, but I have found a tiny fear of dying, and for some irrational reason, getting on an airplane feels like walking into a potentially life-threatening scenario.  It is completely irrational.  I know that.  I know that the statistics point to the fact that I have a greater likelihood of dying in a car crash than an airplane crash.  I do not think about dying every time I get in a car – probably because I do that more often.  Let’s just call the fear irrational and move on.  This blog post really is not about flying, it is about dying.

Due to the fact that I am traveling alone and I soon have to get some tests done to see if I might have to battle the scary “C” word (cancer), I have been doing a lot of pondering about how I feel toward God if “all the days ordained for me (that were) written in his book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139), were a smaller amount of days than I think or would like.

Aside from the normal trepidation about the unknown, the actual process of dying is not really what bothers me most.  What I really hate is the thought of my kids growing up without me.  No person on the planet can love them the way I love them.

And that is truth.  No person on the planet can love them as much as I love them, but a more powerful truth is:  their Maker loves them better and more fully than I can even begin to try to love them.

I have realized that, at the end of the day (no pun intended), I trust God to love my kids well.  I trust God to take care of them and help them grow strong and always feel loved.  But I have also realized how much I really want to be the tool he uses to accomplish these things.  I have found myself begging God to let me be the one to raise my kids and love them for a really long time.  And then I realized how different these thoughts are from the grumbling thoughts that often occupy my head when I am in the not-so-fun thick of parenting…

“Yet I am always with you…”

At first glance, I thought these were God’s words spoken to me.  Read them again and tell me what you think.  I was ready to be comforted with the same truth I tell my kids, “God is always with you.”  And then I realized that, in this case, these were not God’s words to a human, these were the psalmist’s words to God.  “Yet I am always with you…”

If you read the verses before verse 23, you see the psalmist confessing his jealousy as silly after looking around at others who did not know God, yet who had a comfortable life.  He realized that he had something far more valuable.  “Yet I am always with you…”  He was always with God.

I am always with God.  This is a whole new angle I have never considered before.  I think a lot about God being with me, but I only think about being with God when I die.  I have never paused to consider that I am with God right now.

I am used to quoting verses like, He promises never to “leave me or forsake me” (Hebrews 13:5).  I am used to God coming with ME wherever I go…

What if that was a lens we were never intended to look through?  (I am not saying it is – I am just saying what if.)  What if I should not comfort my kids by saying, “God is always with you”?  What if, instead, I begin comforting them by saying, “You are always with God”?

I am with Him always.  He is running the show.  I am not.  The point of life is not to drag God around with us as we decide what we should do and where we should go.  The point is to draw near to God and let Him take the lead.

For some reason, I am stuck on those words, “I am with God.”  It feels a lot different to say, “I am with God,” than to say, “God is with me.”

I am with God right now.

You are with God right now.

We are taught that we get to be with God once we die, but we are not necessarily taught that we get to be with God right now.  The writer of this Psalm obviously recognized that eternity does not start “some day.”  Eternity has already started.  We are living it.  “One day” we will experience a fuller, richer reality where the presence of God is exceedingly greater than we can fathom at this point in history.  However, I believe we have the opportunity, so long as we are on this planet, to get used to being with Him.  Our real comfort is not necessarily found in God being with us; it is found in us being with God.  Though, in sense, they are much the same – except one way of looking at it puts us at the center, while the other way puts God at the center.

As I have been thinking about death, I had a weighty moment that was almost too much to fathom.  I stood outside, looking at the beauty of everything around me, and the thoughts began piling in:  I am a person.  I live on this planet.  I have thoughts and I have a body, and I live here.  That is just so weird.  (Yes, that was my thought)  Then the sobering thought:  I can do nothing about the fact that I exist.

Whoa!  That’s deep.  I know.  But think about it.  You can choose to believe that this planet and the amazingly complex people on it just “happened.”  You can believe that a bunch of atoms crashed around long enough and this planet and its people were the result.  OR you can choose to believe that there HAS to be a Creator of it all.  This world and the people in it are far too complex to not be intricately and purposefully put together.  That being the truth, you and I had very little say about whether or not we were created.  In fact, we had no say at all.  God, in his infinite wisdom and love, chose to create us, and He chose the exact time to put us on this planet.  We had zero control over that.

I mean think about it.  You can not do a thing about the fact that you exist.  Even if you were to commit suicide, you would still exist.  Your body would cease to be alive, but you, the soul that God created, would still exist.  You will always exist.  And you can’t do anything about it.

Seriously, thinking about those things overwhelm me and drive me into the arms of my Maker.  It is safe there.  He gets it all.  It all makes sense to Him.  I don’t have to worry about it.  I just have to trust (I think that is easier said than done).  And I can tell you one thing:  if I exist (which I do), and I always will exist (and I can’t do anything about it), I sure want to be comfortable being with the One I will be with forever.

Why don’t I live with the daily conviction that there is no other person on the planet who can fill my place?  God did not create another Jillian.  He did not create another you.  I am the one and only.  And if I am the one and only, then only “I” can do the things I have been called to do.  If I don’t do them, they won’t get done.  Sort-of.

Will God still accomplish his purposes if I do not participate?  Absolutely.  Would my husband and kids still feel loved if I was not around?  Yes.  But I would miss out.

For “all the days ordained for me,” I want to be the one to love my kids, invest in them, and raise them to love God and love others.  For all the days ordained for me, I want to seek God so that I can participate with him in his secret, undercover, and sometimes not-so-undercover work.  For all the days that God has given me, I want to make the most of each day.

“Yet I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And the earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:23-26).

Let that truth sink deep into your soul…

P.S.  I got my biopsy results back today after I posted this, and everything came back normal.  Phew!!  I am very thankful.  No “C” word.

One thought on “Deep

  1. Wow, Jillian, thanks for sharing all of that. I’m praying for you now, my friend, but what a reminder to all of us. Thankyou.

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