Monday, February 06, 2012

6th February

Not a good day. Sometimes willpower and determination is just not enough. Yes I did go swimming first thing this morning, and even managed an extra few lengths which was encouraging. It would be good to do a half mile swim two or three times a week and I can easily imagine doing that before long. But what about the rest of the day? I’m afraid I succumbed to temptation and started thinking about Jane again. Not as she is but rather as she was, and how she suffered for so long with cancer. I still find it so easy to recall her final days, hours, minutes… and wonder what was going through her drug numbed mind. I know it’s pointless and in a way self-indulgent but some days I just give in and let the sadness take over. Then I think back to how she was for most of my life and remember how much I loved that wonderful woman. And still do. Yes my heart is truly broken and needs mending.

So yet again I need to turn my back upon Jane as she was and look towards heaven and how she is. My photo today is of Jane and a friend who took her own step into eternity just a few years ago. A little while before this friend died Jane helped baptise her by joining her in the pool with one of our church leaders. Quite a privilege and one that Jane shared with other ladies as well. I sometimes like to picture Jane on a heavenly settee drinking heavenly coffee sharing and praying with her friends. This was a lovely lady who suffered her own challenging cancer journey as did another younger mum. And all three ladies were part of a small church house group that Jane and I led not so very long ago…

Anyway the fact of the matter is that few can truthfully claim to have real insight into heaven. The Bible somewhat mysteriously suggests that it is possible to pay a visit and for sure there are those who make that claim, equipping them with an incredible and quite detailed otherworldly story. I suppose I am naturally cautious about the detail of many of these tales preferring to listen to the heart of God in the telling. But for my part I can quite confidently say that I have seen into heaven and on many occasions observed angels around me. However, for me personally it has never been with my earthly eyes, and has always been a spiritual experience resulting in a serious shortage of vocabulary to flesh out any description. So whilst I may have ‘seen’ into heaven and have a suggestion of what is happening there, I really couldn’t describe what it looks like in any detail. The same with angels; I occasionally have a sense that they are present and have some awareness of their activity, but have absolutely no idea what they look like. None of this stops my imagination though, and I always find it comforting to picture Jane in her new life, in her new home, enjoying her new work (and play) with her new friends and family. Yes I guess there will be no shortage of company. I may not be very good at imagining the physical reality of heaven and I guess Jane will look rather different as well, but the essence of who she is will not have changed one bit. Her memories will not be wiped out, just the pain from the decades of challenges that we’ve fought together.

And of course, one more time, I have to remember that when I think of heaven there is one that I can look to with total confidence that he is a perfect example of what to expect there. Jesus Christ. And we have many, many ways to find out about him and what he’s like. The Bible's a good start. Church should be a close second.

1 John 3:1-3 ‘See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.’ (NLT)

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