Give me a word, Lord: TEMPORARY HOME

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

My heart has been heavy for the last couple of weeks with concern about a precious lady’s health. She has been my patient for more than twenty years, but she is much more than just a patient. I consider her to be family. I’ve held her hand as she cried through many of life’s struggles. She has lost a husband, children, and multiple siblings. They have all passed away before her. She is up in age now, her health has been deteriorating for the last few years, but last week her health took a turn for the worse. She visited the ER for one problem, but while there it was revealed that she had a much bigger problem. Metastatic cancer was found on a CT scan. This diagnosis, of course, was very unexpected. When I received the call from the ER doctor, my heart began to ache. I telephoned her and asked her to come to the clinic to see me the following day so that we could put a plan of action into place.

When she arrived, I prayed again. I had already been praying for her and asking God to give me the words to say as I explained this turn of events. I brought her into the clinic by wheelchair. She has already lost so much weight. I think I could have picked her up and carried her into the building. She doesn’t weigh much more than a child now, and she is so tiny, frail and weak. She was in terrible pain, but still managed to give me her sweet smile. We talked. I gently broke the news that the tests at the hospital showed what appeared to be metastatic cancer. We talked about doing further testing to get a clear diagnosis, and then we discussed possible treatment regimens down the road. She listened intently never shedding a tear or raising her voice in anger. She didn’t show any signs of fear. I was afraid that she didn’t understand the severity of the problem, but I was wrong. She grasped the information fully. When I finished explaining everything, she looked at me and said, “I’m an 80 year old lady. I’ve lived my life here. I probably won’t do any kind of treatment. I’m ready to go to my heavenly home. I’m ready.”

This sweet frail little lady reminded me of something I knew all too well. This old body that we are living in right now is just a tent. Our bodies are frail. We are subject to injury, disease, and death. We are going to know pain while we pass through this temporary land, but praise God, this world is not our home. We are just temporary citizens here. Although the devastating news that I was sharing overwhelmed me with grief for her, she took it in stride. For you see, her eyes are already focused on her permanent dwelling place.

One of the biggest problems in this world is that we place too much focus on our temporary home, Peeps! We want the nicest home, the fastest car, the prettiest face, the fanciest clothes, or whatever the latest trend of the week is. We focus on looking good on the outside so that the world notices us and pays attention. We spend small fortunes on keeping up appearances, but none of that really matters at all. When it is all said and done, and Jesus calls us home, NONE of that stuff will matter! What really matters is how we look on the inside before our Lord and Savior. The only thing that really matters is where we will be spending eternity. Are you going to spend eternity in the smoking section or non-smoking? Do you know for sure without a shadow of a doubt that you will be spending eternity in heaven if you lost your life today? Or will your final destiny be hell?

Life truly is but a vapor. These old bodies we are living in will fall apart. They’ll turn on us. Our hair will turn gray and fall out. Our joints will begin to swell and ache. We will develop diseases that we must try to treat. Yes, these temporary bodies will let us down sooner or later. Now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of our bodies. I’m a nurse practitioner so I have to throw that in. Our bodies are temples in which the Holy Spirit resides. We need to keep the home of the Holy Spirit in the best shape that we possibly can, but still we can rest assured knowing that when these old bodies wear out and give out on us, the best is yet to come. If we are in Christ, the best really is yet to come: eternity in glory!

As I thought all of this through, all the sadness I have felt over the past few days regarding this very likely terminal diagnosis that will be given to this sweet lady, my tears have turned from sadness to joy. I know that when she leaves this temporary home, she will never suffer again. She will feel the arms of our Savior wrapped tightly around her welcoming her home…to her forever home. I’m so thankful that I have a reservation in heaven. I can hardly wait!

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