Friday, September 5, 2014

God isn't a soccer mom

I don't think God is a soccer mom, but I think we want him to be. I met a nurse here who told me that her eighteen year old son lost or broke his iPhone three times last year and she replaced it every time for him. She convinced him to become an engineer at a bigger college, even though he dreamed of being a video game developer and starting at a local school. She seems to be the mom who does his laundry, cooks his favorite meals every night, does all the boring chores herself, buys him an expensive first car. I think one day his wife will hate her. And if his marriage falls apart, perhaps he might come to resent his mom for it.

I think that's what we Americans want God to be for us. A soccer mom. To make all the important decisions, to fix our carelessness, to make our favorite sandwiches while we sit on the couch and play video games.

I've been thinking about Heaven. I wonder if when we get to the pearly gates that we might be shocked if we find that we're still ourselves. That death didn't kill things like anger, unforgiveness, pride, selfishness and that we will have to work through them somehow in heaven. Maybe God won't magically wipe our bottoms of the things we need to change. It turns out there are only a few things God can't do. He can't make us change our hearts or minds to forgive, to learn to love, to be humble. It has to be us, so I'm thinking that even in Heaven it'll have to be our choice to change.

Not that He wouldn't help us. He helps us heal and grow here on Earth, so I'd imagine we'd have His help in Heaven too. But many people choose to not heal, even with God's help, so I wonder how things will go if they would choose not to heal in Heaven too. No, I just don't see God doing all of the hard work for us like a soccer mom. It just never seems to actually benefit anyone anyhow.

I also think we've imagined heaven to be "the great retirement in the sky," with endless golf and sangria and nothing else. If that's heaven, count me out. I hate sangria. And golf. I bet in heaven we'll still face challenges. Trust seems to be one of God's favorite aspects of his relationship with us. I'd be surprised if we got to heaven and everything was done for us with nothing to do but for us to get fat and lazy. I just don't think it'll be like that.

I think God built into us something of his own heart- something that loves challenges, loves taking risks and loves seeing the impossible come into reality with his help. Trust is only built in risky environments. And as eternity is much longer than anytime here on Earth, doesn't it seem like God wouldn't limit trust building with Him to a single earth-lifetime?

Through all we Bumsteads have been through, though it's been at times intensely painful, I have to say I feel God's presence more now than ever before. I trust Him more than I ever have. I've invited Him to participate in every part of our lives like I never did before. I've asked him to help me change my heart in ways I was never willing to before.

I do know that in Heaven there won't be the fear of death. Maybe risks and challenges and changes in heaven will be exciting because death will have been conquered. Maybe we will find that God loves us enough to accept us as ourselves and that He will continue to be perfect even if we take a bit longer in Heaven.  Maybe we will look forward to what crazy thing God has planned next. Because in heaven we will have unlimited access to Jesus to hold our hand through anything He puts our way.

It turns out, that's pretty true of our life here on Earth too.

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