Encouragement for Today
Marybeth Whalen, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (NIV)
This summer, I took a trip with some girlfriends. While I was gone, some ladies from my small group persuaded my husband to allow them to renovate our home. (Picture “Extreme Home Makeover” and you’ll get the idea.) Though my husband was supposed to keep their plan a secret, he realized that I am not one for “big surprises” and spilled the beans over the phone during my trip.
During the four days I was gone, he updated me regularly on what was happening in the house. He asked for my input on color selections and design ideas – but it was very hard to visualize what was going on in my absence. What had been intended as a sweet gesture had become an overwhelming process. Though many of the changes they made were good — and even necessary — they weren’t changes I had initiated or even dreamed up. I felt out of control and worried about the changes to my home. When I left four days earlier, I had not realized that it would be the last time I would ever see my house as I knew it. Later, as I reflected on that fact, I realized how many times I leave a place or a person I care about and take for granted that I will be back to see that place or that face again.
The house was mostly cleaned up when I returned, but I was shocked by how different it looked. Hardwood floors had replaced the carpet and linoleum, wainscoting had replaced the paneling, walls had been knocked down and paint and wallpaper had been removed. It did not feel like home anymore and I went through a bit of a mourning period, as strange as that sounds. Though everything that had been done was an improvement, I struggled with the absence of the little touches that had once made my house “mine.”
In the weeks that followed, I struggled to find God in what had happened. In every experience He allows to come into my life, I try to find whatever He has to teach me through that experience. I knew there was a lesson in this somewhere! Over the next few days, God showed me that this life lesson fell under the category of “longing for Heaven.” This is an ongoing lesson for me as I struggle with the imperfections of this world. Many times I go to God with my list of grievances and limitations and He shows me that what I feel is part of living in a fallen world. When we face financial issues or a friend wrongs us, when a child is ill or a marriage crumbles, we turn to Him and ask “Why?” Sadly, lovingly, He responds that we are not supposed to love it here or have all of our needs met here. We are to constantly long for Heaven, our true home. If we got too comfortable here, we would lose sight of the place He is preparing for us.
When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them. As part of the family of believers, He is preparing a place for me and you, too. My little earthly home is no match for the Kingdom Home I have waiting for me. My friends — in a gesture of love — tried to prepare a place for me, and for that I am grateful. Though my home may fall short as all things of this earth do, I will choose to focus my sights on what lies ahead, and be glad for God’s people who help make our time in an imperfect world a little more bearable.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, I thank You for preparing a place for me. I know I don’t deserve Heaven, nor did I deserve for you to die on a cross so that I could spend eternity there. When things get too hard here on Earth, help me to remember that this is not my real home, and that I should set my sights on what lies ahead. Thank You Lord, for my Kingdom Home and for the people you send into my life who love me enough to put their love into action.
If you are caught up in making your home a place of beauty, spend today thinking about how you can make investments in your Heavenly home. This might mean taking action as my friends did and helping someone. Ask God to show you how you can make a Kingdom investment today.
How can you set your sights on the things of Heaven and not get caught up in the things of this world?
Do you go to God with the things that break your heart in this world, and let Him show you that it breaks His heart as well?
Determine to adjust your focus to see the things of this world through His eyes.
Hebrews 11:13-16, “All of these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on this earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
Matthew 25:34-40, “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of this world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
I Corinthians 2:9, “However, it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
At Home with God, by Sharon Jaynes
Do You Know Him?
Message of the Month Club