Thursday, March 5, 2015

Because of His Great Love We are Not Consumed {Heartbreak + Lamentations Print}

It was a typical bedtime routine earlier this week. We read a couple of stories {as quickly as possible because it's already a half hour past bedtime}, then our Jesus Calling Bible. Before we can get to the part where we "talk about our day and what we did well" followed by prayers, he launches into talking about heaven. Heaven is a favorite topic these days.

"When can I go there?" he asks. "I want us ALL to go there. EVERYBODY I love. {My friend} is going to heaven too, right?" This is where he pauses for an answer and I pause wondering how I should answer. The friend we are talking about is a neighbor. Someone he absolutely adores. We are slowly getting to know the family. But he already knows this friend is THE. BEST. And I just don't know the answer to his question. "And if {my friend} isn't going, then I'm not either." {In my son's four-year-old perspective, heaven is like Disney World — you travel there, have a good time, do some fun stuff and see some cool people, and then come home and beg to go back} 

But I of course know it's much more than that. It's eternity. And this sweet question coming out of my son's mouth is the most important question we can ponder. The weight of it and its implications sent a wave of panic over me that threatened to CONSUME ME. The feeling was surprising. I admit I don't often feel that way. There was guilt that I should feel this burden more often — that weight on your heart that overwhelms and brings sudden, deep sadnessfor the people in our lives. Both the people we pass in the store and the people we call friend. It's truly devastating to think about.  

What else in this world really matters other than this?

I pondered this  as my eyes began to burn with unshed tears. And why am I so concerned about everything else? There are so many pains and disappointments in life that I focus on and complain about, and yet I can't answer my son's innocent question. This child needs to know that Jesus loves her! And maybe she does. But, more likely, she doesn't. What if nobody ever tells her? What if WE never tell her? Why doesn't my heart break more often for the people around us who don't know Him as their Savior?

That night we prayed for his friend, and I reminded my son how and why people go to heaven — by making a decision to follow Jesus and accepting his free gift of mercy. Just a few months ago, my son made that decision for himself, and that day was one of the greatest joys in our life. We talked about how we can tell this friend about Jesus and then I said goodnight.

But the feeling lingered through the rest of the evening, during the night and into the next day. That burden that could only be from the Holy Spirit.  He's working on my heart, breaking it, molding it, changing my priorities and my concerns. Raising the important things to the surface. The heartbreak I felt did not consume me, because I have the hope of Christ in me!

So, He changed my plans. The post I was going to to write today. I had been excitedly working on this new Scripture art print with these amazing verses in Lamentations ... and then the conversation with my son took place. And I just couldn't ignore it. I couldn't sleep. The Holy Spirit spoke in my heart, and I couldn't go back to writing about how much I'm enjoying watercolor and new fonts and looking forward to spring. Because maybe I'm supposed to be about more than that.

The Words in this passage offer the very same hope that our friends and family and neighbors so desperately need!

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak." 2 Corinthians 4:13

When I read this passage from Lamentations I hear it in the soft, southern drawl of a mentor and friend who has committed it to memory. There have been so many times over the last few years when a friend or I needed to hear it and it comes tumbling out at just the right moment. I want to impress it on my heart so that the sweet truth and wisdom of these words comes tumbling out of my mouth at just the right time.
When things are falling apart around us and we are feeling discouraged and hopeless, we will be able to call to mind what we KNOW about God. That he is LOVING and He is COMPASSIONATE and He is FAITHFUL. That we are NOT CONSUMED, because of who He is. Not because of who we are or our circumstances.

And for those who don't know Him, He is holding out His hand of mercy and his free gift of salvation for anyone to accept and to join him one day in heaven. And He keeps offering it. Over and over again. Because He has GREAT LOVE for each of us. This is it! The hope that ultimately conquers disappointment and despair and urges us on to love others and to call out to God for their salvation.

I know that He can use my family and yours in the lives of our friends, family and acquaintances if we will boldly share that love and share the word of God. If we will ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for us with our Heavenly Father when that burden and heartbreak comes over us for our families, our neighborhoods and our world. Will you join me in prayer? Will join me in finding ways to love our neighbors and friends? Will you join me in knowing and speaking God's Word?

May you know God's love, compassion and faithfulness!

Watercolor prints in four colors now available here.

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