Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)
TITLE: Are We There Yet?
By Jeannie Dennis
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I have found that I tend to focus on the destination, like a child excited about going to Disneyland or waiting for Christmas morning, but God would have me focus on the journey. However, I donít want to focus on todayís problems and challenges! It is much easier to dream about or wish for better days ahead. I have said that if there was a magic wand that could make me thinner, heal broken relationships, take away my fears or instantly fix whatever difficult situation I find myself in, it would be well worth the price. I want lifeís challenges resolved as instantly as I can microwave a meal or send an email.
Especially since God has given me a glimpse of what it will be like once I am no longer on this side of Paradise. His word says there will be no weeping, no sickness or death and that I will be reunited with those believers that have gone on before me. I look forward to the peace, love and wholeness that I will be a part of by being in His presence. On days that have been particularly difficult the thought of being in Paradise sounds wonderful!
Yet what I am learning is that God wonít let me use Paradise as an escape from the plans He has for my life. He wants so much more for me! I am beginning to understand that no matter what I am going through He is there with me, that He loves and He has my back. When I ask Him to fix my mess, He lovingly provides His peace, comfort, wisdom and the strength to work through it. He doesnít take it away. I catch myself asking Him the question again, ďAre we there yet?Ē
It is as though I am a terrified, wounded animal snarling and swiping at the hands of someone who knows what is best for me. Once again, He patiently waits for me to stop striving, to stop trying to earn His grace, as though He could love me more than He already does. He waits for me to just rest in His love and believe. Believe in my heart what I have known in my head for years. He wants me to grow in my faith, grow ever more intimate in my relationship with Him, and trust Him.
On this side of Paradise I have been through painful, difficult situations some brought on by my own doing, some by other peopleís choices. And I am learning I donít have to wait to arrive at the destination. He is with me, here, now, on the journey. The more I spend time with Him, the deeper my relationship with Him, the more of Paradise I have. I am learning that I donít need to ask the question ďAre we there yet?Ē because I am content to be in the present, to take His hand and walk the path He has chosen.
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