I use to be afraid of heaven, hell, and earth. It is as unpleasant of a feeling as it sounds! Heaven was less frightening than hell, after all I certainly didn’t want to spend eternity in a fiery, lonely, separation from God. Through my times of depression I had already felt what I imagine hell feels like and I wanted no part of that! Heaven was frightening, because well I had never been there and on top of it while I had heard of God’s love, I also heard of his judgement. The second biggest reason I believe I feared heaven was because I had a head knowledge of my relationship with God and Jesus, but after 35 years of following Jesus and God, this year I have finally begun a heart relationship with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I had been in full time ministry, I had desperately wanted a heart relationship with Jesus, I just didn’t know how to have one! I didn’t comprehend in full glory what Jesus had done for me in dying on the cross, rising again, and being sat on the right hand of God. I now understand it, or at least I am beginning to understand it. Heaven was better than hell, but it had been a get out of hell free card so to speak. Now, getting into heaven is glorious, amazing, and full of joy not because it saves me from a fiery lake, that is a bonus for sure, but because of the heart relationship I have with Jesus Christ.
I use to be afraid of death, horribly afraid, and it wasn’t because I was afraid of how I would die. How I will die can definitely be disconcerting, but combined with the fear of the unknown heaven compounded my fear of dying even more so. My fear of earth is understandable, especially now that I have children. Fear of them being kidnapped, fear of bombs, guns, and rockets red glare. Fear of my children being abused, so many friends and family dying of cancer, diabetes, or other diseases and illnesses. Certainly more reasons than I can count that living on earth gives me just about a daily heart attack.
What was the change? What made the difference in my life? Why do I no longer fear these things? In great part because God brought The Ultimate Journey into Mark and I’s life. Because I began to learn about what a blood covenant is and what a blood covenant representative is, because I learned that fail or succeed God will use them in my life! Not as a painful life lesson, although it certainly feels that way going through it, and as odd as it sounds he uses it to show me his love for me. He uses the horrible things in life to show me how much he loves me, he uses it to show me his amazing peace and joy. He has begun to show me and teach me what a heart relationship with him looks like. It is truly laying down every burden, every want, every desire to be in control and truly saying “your will, your way, and it will be my joy to say it”.
One of the things I have been struggling with lately is how to pray. If God is truly in control, if I am to be fully submitted to him, then how do I pray? What good is it to ask for my needs, much less my wants. But something I realized was the moment that Jesus was in the garden praying before he would be arrested and crucified. When he was praying, he asked for the cup to be passed from him. He was asking God, even knowing the answer, to be spared from the nastiness that was coming. If Jesus, the son of God can go to the Father to ask for something, than so can I. But, within that asking, Jesus submitted to the Father, if God’s answer was to be no or maybe, or trust me I have a better way. I know I often cringe when God says no or maybe I have a better way, because in my humanness how could he have a better way? But, now that I have a lot of hindsight, I know his ways are often much better than I could have comprehended. I trust his no and I trust his maybe and I trust his I have a better way.
Now, with that said, it does not make the waiting easier, the waiting is still painful when the rent is due, the water bill past due, and it is uncertain how it will all get paid. But, every month, we are provided for, every month God shows up in creative miracles only he could come up with.
I do not fear hell, I no longer fear heaven, and I do not fear earth either! My heart relationship with God has made heaven so much sweeter, so much more than simply a better place than hell. The same heart relationship with Jesus saves me not only from hell, but from hell on earth. I am able to let go of fear in relationships. The fear of not being loved, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of rejection, the fear of not measuring up. I can let go, I can be weak in the Fathers arms, and in exchange I receive immeasurable strength and confidence. Because what he thinks of me, how he loves me is so much more amazing, so much more meaningful than what any human on earth can give me. When you have that kind of confidence in Jesus Christ and God the father there is no fear in hell, no fear of earth, and there is great confidence, excitement, and joy in the thought of heaven. You will no longer find me dragging my feet at the thought of heaven, no, you will find me in my running shoes! Perhaps the only time you will find me in running shoes, because when Jesus calls me home I totally intend to run into his arms! Because in those arms is when my life will truly begin!