The first Sunday in December 1979 a beautiful snow had fallen through the night. We woke to this glory of sun, white and blue. I entered my Sunday school class in the Fellowship Hall banked with a row of windows allowing the wonder of the scene in.
The teacher, aglow, said, "It feels like Jesus could come today." He was a charismatic, new Christian and like many new in the faith, desired so much for Jesus to call us home in the rapture. I always believed in the rapture before the tribulation. Sorry, don't mean to lose those who are not familiar with the pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib theories of the end times.
I wanted Jesus to come, too. Yet, I was eighteen and life's expanse lay ahead of me. I had a hard time to truly hope it was that day that the sky opened and we flew to Jesus. It was almost a "Leave Me Alone" moment. The longing in his voice proved too intense for me that day.
I looked at the clear sky, almost perfect and understood the details to fuel that desire. The world was pretty bad, then, too. We lived under threat of nuclear attack. Americans were held hostage in Iran. Nobody liked Israel. Free "love" seemed rampant. The adults didn't like rock and roll, especially Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Ozzy Osbourne. I wasn't too sure about Black Sabbath, either. Alice and Ace Frehly from Kiss became Christians and rockers are mostly main stream, now.
I didn't even have a boyfriend,that day. I wanted to be married, have children, live a life. I wasn't sure I wanted to give that up. As C.S. Lewis explains it, I was happy making mud pies, not understanding the rapture meant being at the sea shore. Not as bad as the children in his illustration, who had no idea what the sea shore was, but I had forgotten. I wanted this life on earth. Soon after, I told God I would come back later.
I believe that is a natural response for an eighteen year old girl. To say one choses heaven over this life, could put a person in the mental ward.
Obviously, I came back to Jesus. It was December 10, 1988, as a Gideon spoke on Bible reading and how that Book changes lives. I knew what he said was true and I wanted my unborn baby to have a devoted Christian mother. In those eleven years, I remained a church goer, never actually turning my back on God completely. I followed the rules, but I had lost that first love. I didn't keep Jesus in my day to day life. I changed that December. I had to start growing again. God doesn't have grandchildren. I couldn't get in on my dad's testimony. John 14:6 blazed in my mind that day- Jesus said it, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father, but through me." No playing around anymore with the idea that all religions get you to heaven or being a good person will open that door. I always knew the Truth, but I had let debris cover the person of Jesus.
After thirty two years, a better grasp of end times and the rapture shape my longing. I feel more a foreigner every day. I also know there is much work to be done before we can be whisked away. In the Christian growing pains, I learned to live my faith in the open. And lately, to be more loving.
The Lord pricks my heart for some of the most unlikely people I remembered tonight as I watched a Broadway documentary. Boy George, who remembers him? I thought and still think he has a great voice. And of course, feeling he is tragic is not politically correct, yet I prayed for him.Another singer, is Elton John. I love his singing and piano playing. I pray for him. Ellen, the first time she was on the cover of Newsweek, her air of innocence and I know she is not innocent, none of us are, touched me. I have been praying for her for a long time. I prayed that her role as Dory in Finding Nemo would spurn Christians to pray for her.
I do believe that no one is beyond Christ's love and redemption, but many hardened hearts have blocked the way for themselves. We, as Christians, cannot give up. As Pastor Ken quotes often from the Bible, "Do not weary in well doing for in due season, you will reap a harvest."
I'm anticipating that due season.