My humor is dry. I will often tell my daughters, saying, “I have some bad news….” The look on their little faces is one of fidgety-suspense! They will inevitably question me until I answer them. “The bad news is, you are beautiful!” Of which they will inevitably tell me smiling, “Daddy, that’s not bad news!” My reply is, “…well it’s bad news for me!” I wink. “The good news? I’m too ugly to let you go!”
And for my son; I use the same line. “I’ve got some bad news….” I pause. “…You are just too smart!” He smiles. Then I explain the good news. “The good news is that you are still too young to outsmart me!”
These examples—placed in proper context—can be applied to the Christian and no one else. You see, for the devout believer “the bad news” is that you are not in heaven yet! The “good news”—for the redeemed—is that you are on your way there!
Perspective often gets lost the older we get, because this upside-down world becomes more home to us than it ought to! It isn’t that I promote a morbid sense of death, it is because I have an infatuation with having life—rather than preferring the decay witnessed all around us! Isn’t it backwards the way we think? When a child learns of death, it is foreign and invasive to their little minds. But the more they are exposed to the harsh realities of dying relatives, a dying pet, the decay of foliage, and the harshness of winter; they begin to transition from innocent understanding to the morbid reality of death—until they forget the time of “innocence” and the “electrified wonder” of continual discovery. Where there were once wonders to explore and experience—now, replacing that “wonder” is the “desire to exploit” because the world itself has undergone the causality of being “exploited” by death.
One Sunday after preaching a service, I met an old and weathered gentleman leaving his pew who explained to me how he dearly missed his son. Tears misted his eyes as he explained that his son had been killed in the war; and, although years had passed, his ache to see his son again still lingered. His “hell on earth”—simply put—was a state of living separated from the true realm of life, where his son and Savior awaited him. It was incredible to hear of his longing ache—to hear the “holy groans” and sobs where words failed him….
That being said, the older we get, we either become more and more soft for the world (heaven/life) before us, or we become more calloused and hardened as we lose the upper-hand on this upside-down world. In terms of heart and character—we become more genuine in grace; or, on the contrary: more rigid and dead(.)
Someone once said, “You become what you behold.” And I think they are right! Children know how to wonder; they know how to take in sights and sounds with no preconceived ideas. Jesus described faith being like that of a little child for a reason…because children exhibit wonder quite unashamedly, and the joy they display is not one from exploitation (at first), it is a joy contagious! We see something of God’s image in that grinning face; we hear a contented coo enjoying the creation and conclude Joy must be real! JOY.
When I play with my kids and choose to see with the eyes of Joy—I get a taste of heaven. When I play with my dog and notice all the detail of his always smiling demeanor and the pattern of his intense brown eyes, I commit myself to wonder what mighty beasts I will shepherd in the world to come! When I am alone with my wife and steal her to myself and passionately consume her lips in a deep kiss; when I can make her heart skip and lose myself to her embrace—how can I not see and feel that these are wonderful shadows and illustrations of the life to come?!
But my joy—and the joy of every God-fearing man yet living—is incomplete because we are still on the dark side of the veil. You see, life wasn’t meant to be without God—the God who is, in fact, LIFE! Fullness of life is to know God and be with him—to be in wonder of his creativity, his majesty, and his holy power—to be kissed by the Son of God and reunited with him as his “bride”.
The Christian life is one of exhilaration and perspective Joys…. “What’s the bad news?” Well, you are not caught up to heaven yet.
“What’s the good news?” Answer: You are well on your way to experience the greatest Joys of your life—beginning now—if you find your life in Christ. He is THE way, THE truth, and THE LIFE. Who knew that the most wonderful thing was to “have the faith of a child” and rest in the wonder of himself? JESUS