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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Looking Beyond the Fireworks

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done
from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

Who doesn’t like a beautiful display of fireworks? We wait in anticipation and then when the bright, brilliant explosions of color splash against the black velvet sky we ooooh and ahhhhh and ooooh and ahhhh some more. When my granddaughter, Abigail, was five years old she had become an old hand at fireworks! As we were sitting on the blanket watching the magnificent display and hearing the oooohs and ahhhhhs, she looked at me and said, “Mimi, you’d think these people had never seen fireworks before!”

I’m always listening to my grandchildren because they have amazing wisdom. In this case, her words reminded me that if I live long enough I will witness some pretty devastating fireworks in my life and in the lives of others. The fireworks I am writing about are not beautiful. In fact they are of a completely different nature. These fireworks involve circumstances of extreme heat that burns holes in the fabric of my life. These fireworks will be explosive emotions that hurt and words that kill my spirit. Almost always this kind of fireworks hits one unexpectedly. We are never prepared and we act as if we have never seen these fireworks before. But we have. We have all witnessed the devastation of the explosive fireworks of sin. We should not be surprised. We do not ooooh and ahhhh. No, our first response is that we cry and shake our fist in the face of God. We are angry and we are scared. I am so glad that God understands my heartbroken cries of fear and desperation. Jesus too experienced fear and dreadful desperation in the Garden of Gethsemane.

As a believer I may feel devastated at the onset of an explosive situation but after the news sets in I begin my road to recovery by placing my hand in the Sovereign hand of God Almighty.

My dad lived to be 92 and he often reminded all of the family that “life is a struggle from the cradle to the grave”. Yet, something within all of us wants to think that life is supposed to be perfect and that we will never have trouble or die! When the reality of life begins to set in around age 30 we begin to see that the perfect life is far from our reach. We wonder why a God of love would allow pain, suffering and struggling to be a part of our life. We long for and strive for perfection yet it never comes. We want to avoid at all cost anything that would interrupt our perfect plan for our happiness.

I believe that many times the desire to change our circumstances, the unrest we feel, the striving and the longing for perfection in this life is really the longing of our souls for the perfection that is to be found only through Jesus Christ. That longing for perfection will only become a reality in heaven. In the mean time those deep longings within us may be a very real suggestion that we are actually homesick for heaven. We don’t always recognize these feelings that resound within our heart but God’s Word says, “God has sat eternity in our hearts” and because of that we long for the restoration that comes from being set free from our sin and being made right with God. Unfortunately we look for that satisfaction in success, in our relationships, in our careers, in knowledge, and in financial gain. We also think that the fast track of parties and fun is where it’s at! We may try anything and everything to bring us pleasure. But in all these things we continue to come up empty hearted.

In the past, the very things that I thought would bring me happiness, once achieved, still left within me a void of emptiness, a spirit of unrest, an overwhelming sense of disappointment, and a stirring turmoil that would not be satisfied or stilled. But I have learned that absolutely nothing satisfies the deep longings of my heart but knowing Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and being in a daily personal relationship with him.

In this life God is perfecting us and preparing us for a life of perfection in heaven by allowing us to go through some very difficult circumstances. We may experience some very explosive fireworks that will send us reeling. When this happens we can fly off into utter desperation or we can choose to run to Jesus.

I believe that I am supposed to ask God for what I need. He invites me to speak to him as friend to friend. He wants to know my hopes, dreams and desires. I believe that I am to work hard to provide for myself to the best of my ability. But God simply asks me to put him first in my life and to trust Him when things do not turn out as I had hoped.

I am convinced that in the darkest brokenness of my life God will be there if I look for him. God may allow me to experience brokenness for a season but when he has used it for my eternal good it will be beautiful. To put it another way, my trials here on earth may make me homesick for heaven!

We are not insignificant people who do not matter to God. God’s love and concern for each of us goes beyond all measure. He sees each and every one of us and he knows our name. I am personally amazed that God cares enough about me to allow whatever is necessary into my life so that I will experience his transformation of my heart and mind.


Are you experiencing some explosive situations in your life?

Are you dealing with them in fear or in quiet confidence that God’s is near?

Are you homesick for heaven?

What have you found in this world that truly makes you satisfied, at peace, and unafraid?

Are you still trying to have the perfect life?


Dear God,

Help me to understand that the perfect life is not what will bring me happiness. Help me to recognize that the longings of my heart will never satisfy me the way you can. Guide me and teach me. Give me your wisdom so I may see that when the fireworks of life surround me, you are my strength and refuge and a very present help in trouble. Yes God, I admit that the unrest I feel may possibly be that my heart is homesick for heaven. God I believe that through your Son, Jesus Christ, you want to restore me to the perfection that frees me from my sin. God I am looking forward to the day that I will step into your perfect heaven. Forgive me when I despise my trials. I know that you understand my deepest sorrow, but you simply want to comfort me in my loss and use my pain for my eternal good. Thank you for loving me enough to change me from the inside out.

In Your Son’s Name I Pray. Amen.