Have You Ever…?
Have you ever caught yourself saying those few little detrimental words disguised as hope. “If only _________ ?” They seem innocent. If only I had a loving spouse, life would be perfect. If only I had a brain like Karl and a face like Carla, then life would be easy. I’ve done this one too many times to count, so don’t worry, you’re not alone, friend!
I remember a season when my body was so broken I was mostly confined to a bed for approximately a year and a half. In those days I would dream. Dreaming isn’t bad, for it instilled hope in me for the time, giving me a desire for wellness. What is bad is placing our hope in the dream more than God and expecting a permanent pocket of heaven reserved for us on earth.
In those days of loss, I thought of the seasons of gain. But I falsely assumed life would be perfect when I was better. Oh, when I’m physically able, life is going to be perfect! I won’t have the problems of today. I saw wellness as my promised land, not realizing the land on this earth continues to be cursed. It’s still not heaven.
Those thoughts came rushing to me in a season of better health. I met who I knew would be my future husband. I came to a point where I was in many ways, the healthiest I had been since a little tot. But…I didn’t have it all. What gives? Why was I still facing problems? Why did I still have bouts of illness? Why was I continually searching for a job with tenacity, applying, but silence was the only response?
Oh yeah, because I still hadn’t entered the pearly gates and basked in the full glory of God. I was still planted on earth. In that season of better health, I had the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit say, “You confused your promised land as carrying out the promises of heaven. I never told the Israelites there would be no mourning once they planted their feet on the land I preserved for them. It was a land I promised, but it wasn’t a land that carried the promises of heaven.”
Ironically approximately a month after I had this revelation, my pastor at the time spoke on that very matter: confusing the promised land for heaven. The truth naturally solidified itself in me all the more. I’m not in heaven. Still on earth. Pain and heartbreak still happen in our “promised land.” Gotcha.
Walking Down the Aisle
Prior to my march up the aisle to my groom, I prepared myself not to carry out this false idealism into my marriage. I coached myself; life will not be perfect once I’m married. Life will not be heaven, but I can still experience times of bliss. Even still, I have been deceived into placing more hope into “if only’s” than God.
God is good. He allows me to check myself through the working of His Spirit. What do I continue to place more hope in than God and the heaven He has for me? Is there anything that I need to sacrifice to God that has been placed on too lofty of a position? What do you confuse as being your heaven on earth that is only a promised land?
Sarah Chardavoyne Fall ’14