Today’s reading is Col 3
I need to start this post with a little window into my world today as I borrow my daughter’s laptop to write. My family was on a 10 day trip out of the country last week. It was a fabulous trip, but about halfway through the trip, my mom texted that my almost 97 year old grandma had gone to heaven early that morning. While I had been asking God to take her for over a month because her mind and body were failing so much that she was unable to enjoy any of the things that she had loved in her life, the news that that she was gone was so hard to hear. My gram was one of the most faithful prayers I have ever known and she was one of the most interested visitors you could ever have a conversation with. She loved to find out about you, what you were interested in and what your hopes and dreams were. Then she would trap that information and pray faithfully accordingly. I will miss that faithful prayer coverage in my and my families lives.
Before we left on our trip, we learned that my dad’s only sister in law, had gotten the news that she was full of an aggressive lung cancer and maybe had weeks to live. We were back and forth trying to decide whether we make the 7 hour trip up to see her before we go or if there would be time to see her when we got back. We are currently in the car heading up to Michigan to spend a few days with my Aunt, and say goodbye.
My heart is heavy and feels broken as I try to tackle this post. I’m having a hard time thinking about anything besides my pain. I open my Bible to Col 3 and the first 4 verses are:
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
While I know there is a much broader meaning in these verses for all of us, this few sentences feels deeply personal to me. It seems as though God is speaking directly to me and my situation. “Tracy, instead of dwelling on your losses and pain, set your sights on the realities of heaven. Think about the things of heaven, not this earth.” I have been comforted since Gram died knowing that she is whole today in heaven. Her mind is back to full function and her body is able to work, run, laugh and visit again. All the things she loved to do on this earth but lost the capacity to do, she is able to do now. The part that is even more beautiful than being whole after a long time of decline on this earth, is that she is with Jesus. She doesn’t have to bow her head and pray to connect with God, she is WITH Him! She is able to lift her lovely soprano voice in praise to Him right in front of Him. Really, can you imagine? When I think through these things, my heart turns from pain and loss to joy and hope.
I am so thankful for this beautiful gift of scripture today. While these first few verses fill my heart and redirect my thoughts, there is so much more to consider in the rest of this passage. Paul directs us to consider how we continue to live on this earth with our hearts and minds set on heaven. What does that look like? Paul gives us a few direct lists of what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing to help keep our hearts focused on heaven. He says to put to death the earthly things that are lurking within us. If I am serious about changing the way I think and the things that motivate me, what will I do to help myself? Would it be worth taking 10 minutes today to get out a piece of paper and write out the two lists of instructions that Paul gives us? Make a list of the Do’s and Don’ts. Sometimes writing things on paper, helps embed them in my mind. Tuck the list somewhere in your house where it will surface again. I know that by the time my list shows up again, I will need the reminder of this list to continue reorienting my mind to heaven instead of the stuff of this earth.