Over hash browns and poached eggs Luke asked me yesterday morning if I thought the rapture was going to happen May 21st. Knowing his little brother has been spooked by all the talk about this at school, I quickly gave him an answer hoping we could move on. “No Luke, I don’t.” Without missing a beat he came back with, “Yeah, me either. I don’t think we’re supposed to know when that is because then everyone would just say they believe when they really don’t.” Luke’s no theologian but he made a good point. Either way I thought it’s certainly a good time to consider the question.
For several months now all the talk about the predicted May 21st rapture has been sort of humorous to me. I’m sure there were lots of jokes about it on the Internet but I hadn’t really tuned into any of them. Historically, I’m known for ignoring stuff like this. I didn’t pay much attention to the turn of the century until a couple weeks before New Year’s when I decided it might be a good idea to have some cash on hand and emergency supplies. Being from earthquake country, I’ve learned this is never a bad idea. Since I’m currently set in that department it took a picture on the front page of the newspaper with a judgment day billboard for me to realize a date had been forecast.
The picture was hilarious. I thought it was a joke because the billboard looms large above Last Chance Liquors’ marquee advertising cold beer. I couldn’t stop giggling my evil dark side thought this was brilliant marketing by the owners of Last Chance Liquors. Then I read the story and learned this was a nationwide campaign. Oh groan, was my next thought. Fortunately, several local pastors interviewed did a good job addressing what the downsides to Harold Camping’s campaign were. That spared all my friends who love to study and debate such issues from having to write the newspaper.
Now finally the little bits and pieces I was catching on Twitter and Facebook made sense. I was also better prepared when Chase came home from school concerned about this. With his baptism picture on the mantel I was able to remind him he had nothing to fear. His home forever in Heaven was guaranteed. Evangelist that he is, he went to bed that night and prayed for all those he was concerned he might not see on the other side of eternity.
I was thankful a simple conversation was all that was required. I’ve always avoided the pre, post, and mid-trib debates. I barely understand eschatology and the dispensationalist stuff gives me a headache. I got to have lunch with Jerry B. Jenkins recently and I was nervous the entire time someone might ask me which one of his books was my favorite. I couldn’t finish the first chapter of the first Left Behind novel. It wasn’t his writing it’s just not my genre.
Chase’s childlike faith was and has been the only way I feel comfortable thinking about all this judgment day talk. Sometimes a simple mind can serve you well. I know my eternal future is secure so what it looks like in the days before I get to meet my Savior isn’t something I spend time thinking about. Instead, I think about what it will be like to be re-united with loved ones. I hate to think about those I might not be re-united with because that’s a decision made outside of my control. You pray, hope, do your best to share your heart, and have to leave it at that. Nobody knows the boundaries of God’s mercy and that’s where I choose to leave it.
From this place I find great joy thinking about Heaven. I can’t wait to ask God about the pennies. Who put the sticker on the best penny I’ve ever found that said, “You are a child of God.” I’d like to meet that person and tell them what a turning point that penny was for me. I’ll ask God if He’s been pleased with what I’ve tried to do with the pennies. Not in terms of giving them away, but using them as a metaphor for my writing. I hope in some small way it’s pleased Him. Some of my penny finds have been so memorable I would enjoy more details. How did that penny get there on that particular day and how did I possibly find it?
I have other questions of course, big ones. Some of the same big ones others have. I don’t know that I’ll have the courage to ask standing in the presence of God. It probably won’t occur to me anymore which is best. Who am I to even ask?
Other than finally having a clearer picture from Heaven’s vantage point the thing I look forward to the most is being re-united with my Grandma Ledyard (Ruby). I know I’ll be thrilled to embrace all my loved ones but it’s my Grandma Ledyard that I want to sit down and talk to. I have so much to say to her. I will wait my turn though because she’ll have even more to say to me. After I’ve heard her out over a plate of cinnamon rolls and a pitcher of iced tea, a favorite we always shared, I will get my chance.
First and foremost I want to thank her for encouraging me in prayer at a very early age. She was a prayer warrior before the term had even been coined and she taught me to pray. It was awkward at first but over the years when she would say, “let’s pray about it”, I learned that meant right then together. She would start, I would chime in, and she would finish always praising God in advance for his faithfulness. No greater gift has ever been given to me than this spiritual gift which she encouraged and nurtured. Prayer has sustained me through EVERYTHING in my life and I owe that to her responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting for me.
Next, I will tell her about her great grandchildren. When Ruby died one of the things that grieved me the most was that she wouldn’t get to meet my children who were at that point just a hope and dream. When both of them were born I remember wishing she could have been there. I know every grandmother is thrilled with a new child to love but she would have been over the moon. I consoled myself with humor realizing she also would have been on the phone to me everyday checking on the babies. She wrote me a daily letter while I was in college so this is not an overstatement by any means.
Thirdly, I would tell her I was okay even through the hard seasons of my life after she was gone. I was okay even when I thought I wasn’t, because I have the relationship with Christ that she hoped I would – an intimate one. It’s the kind where I can say I don’t just know of Jesus, I know Him. I can call on Him by name and hear Him call my name back. Sometimes He shouts but more often than not He speaks to me softly. Although I don’t always catch it, I know His grace is humming in the wind.
After all that I will get to know more and more about my Grandma and she will get to know more and more about me. We’ll get to work together side by side advancing the Kingdom of God praying together in Heaven like we did on earth. To me this doesn’t sound like doomsday it sounds like the greatest day possible. To be with the ones you love free from any kind of sadness, free to love them more and free to work with them beyond boundaries – that’s got to be worth leaving anything behind that would keep me from it. For you I hope the same is true. I would like to see you with your loved ones on the other side of eternity as well.