In January, my husband and I, with our three children, holidayed in Barrington Tops, which has lots of forests, rivers and big hills.
One day, we were very high up on a narrow road. It had with beautiful views, but also a massive drop on my side of the car, with no barriers between our car and the drop into the abyss.
Due to some car sickness issues, I was relegated to the back, and sat next to Hugh. I felt sufficiently anxious that I took Hughy’s hand and told him I felt a little nervous.
The conversation continued, and the point came out that if we went over the edge, we would all certainly die. It was a happy holiday conversation.
Hugh’s response to this comment was that if we are all going to heaven, why would this be a bad thing? We could all go to heaven now. Wasn’t that good?
I thanked my five-year-old for his wisdom and decided to be quiet.
But his very simple and unaffected comments made me immediately consider two verses: Philippians 1:21, where the Apostle Paul says, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” and also 1 Timothy 4:16, where we are exhorted by Paul again to watch our life and doctrine closely.
Since that holiday, the issue at hand in my mind has been whether my life reflects this doctrine of ”to live is Christ, and to die is gain” or whether in reality, I am a great deal more attached to this life on earth than God might want me to be.
Are my life and doctrine mismatched on this point? Do I wake each morning aware that this life is but a journey to my actual, heavenly home? And do I then make decisions, speak and behave as though this is true? Is my life built around knowing God and making him known?
I absolutely ascribe to these truths. But I also know so many of my motivations and desires do not stem from my knowledge or love of God in the Scriptures, but from the worldly voices telling me that this life is all there is, and that personal achievement, self-sufficiency and happiness are what we should aspire toward.
I don’t know if this resonates with anyone, but I have been praying for God’s wisdom and increasing discernment, and the Spirit’s transforming power in me—that I would live in a way that honours God and that I would long for heaven when things are going well, as well as when they are difficult.