An Enemy Within

Coughing, sneezing, sniffing, snorting.  It’s a seemingly endless onslaught upon the senses. Syrups, tablets, and vitamin C are the losing defence.  Sleepless nights, waking moments a struggle.  Physical strength drained, inner resolve gone.  It is the attack of — the common cold.  Logically we know it will end; emotionally we plan our demise.  What hymns shall we choose for the funeral?

Such has been my state of body and mind this week, that I awoke this morning with the initial realisation — it’s Saturday!  Oh no, I totally forgot my Friday blog, but how can one remember such a thing when that one is too busy dying?

I lay there but for a moment before reaching for a ready tissue.  My blog.  What shall I write about today, the question lay like lead in my brain.  Another sniff and unsightly blowing of the nose and the thought came, in heaven there will be no sniffing, coughing, and snorting.  I actually smiled.  I could truly feel, in the midst of my misery, the corners of my mouth stretch into that upward position of joy.  Then came the following passage from Revelation 21:1-4, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.  And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  I heard a loud shout  from the throne, saying, ‘Look! God’s home is now among His people! God Himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.'”

After that moment of reminiscing about what heaven will be like, I grabbed my Bible from the beside table and opened to the next chapter in Revelation and read the following from 22:1-5, “Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  It flowed down the center of the Main Street.  On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month.  The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.  No longer will there be a curse upon anything.  For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will  worship Him.  And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads.  And there will be no night there — no need for lamps or sun — for the Lord God will shine on them.  And they will reign forever and ever.”

What a magnificent promise we have to all who personally know Jesus.  It’s a dream that will come true.

Until then, we fight with colds and other lurgies, with a suffering physical world damaged in its ecology, with a troubled humanity looking for peace and joy in all the wrong places. Until then we wake up each morning and say, “Here I am, Lord.  Help, me,” and He always does that very thing.  He provides His inner peace for the larger calamities of life and also cares and comforts us in the aggravating things — like the common cold.

Earning The Medal

Like so many, I am an avid tennis fan.  I can’t play worth beans.  When I’ve tried playing, I have no control of the ball to the point that when I hit it, it goes way past the opponent and on and on and on.  Consequently, no one wants to play with me as they get tired of chasing the ball.  I get tired of hitting it to nowhere, too.  Even so, my own lack of ability has not ruined my love of the game.  It’s Wimbledon finals this week and I have had my eyes glued to the matches as each player tries their best to be one of the last two standing, playing for the final prize.

Throughout these past two weeks, as the matches have been played, the journalists would report various stories about the players.  One thing that is obvious, with no exceptions for any player, is their preparation for this event.  They pay attention to their diet, their sleep, their physical training, and their practice.  Without preparation today, there would be no hope of the final prize tomorrow.

It came to me that this is the same principal in our spiritual worlds.  Our Heavenly Father has made a plan for each of us to follow.  He has given us guidelines for our daily preparation in His love letter to us — His Holy Word.  Once we choose to receive Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us to give us every tool we need to grow stronger each day.  We are given spiritual insight and understanding to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.”  (Philippians 3:14). This does not mean that we work for our eternal destiny.  Salvation is a gift, that when received, will never be taken away.  That’s the promise.  However, we will receive rewards for all we do in Jesus’ name.

Are rewards that important?  Isn’t the main thing just being in heaven for eternity?  Well, that depends on one’s eternal perspective.  You see, the Bible teaches us that a time will come when we will all see Jesus face to face.  At that time, our understanding will be complete.  In other words, we will fully understand just what Jesus has done for us and gone through in order to give us the gift of eternal life with Him.  When we have that realisation, we will take those rewards given to us, and we will cast them at His feet in our love and gratitude.

I once saw an athlete who won her race and received the medal.  Joyfully, this athlete then stepped into the crowd and placed the medal in the hands of her parents.  She said it was her parents who encouraged and supported her in all her training.  It will be the same with us.  Imagine that you won your gift of eternal life with Jesus, but did nothing on earth to show your love for Him; nothing to earn any rewards.  You have nothing to give back.  Imagine.