From the Mission USA director — April/May

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This may seem a little morbid, but bear with me. I drive a lot from Edmond, Okla., where I live to places like Kansas City, Omaha, Wichita, Enid, etc. I also fly to places that are farther away, and after landing I drive a lot there too. By the time this comes to you, we’ll hopefully be enjoying the warmth of spring, but right now we have ice, snow and sleet. The roads are often hazardous and downright treacherous.

While driving on one of these treacherous, icy stretches in Nebraska, going about 40 mph in a 70 mph zone, I started wondering what it would be like to suddenly be in the presence of Jesus. The old “what-if” game started pinging in my mind: What if I hit a really bad icy spot and go see Jesus right this moment? I pictured in my mind standing there before the throne of God, awestruck by the wonder and majesty of his presence and being incredibly thankful that I was adopted into his family. I would bask in the joy of being reunited with loved ones who have gone before and so on. I guess it’s easy to be whisked away to a vision of heaven when your car is slipping and sliding in a way it’s not supposed to.

So I made myself snap out of that heavenly daydream and focus on staying solidly right here on earth by driving a little more carefully. But that caused another wave of thinking: Why do I want to stay on earth? Well, certainly for my loved ones—my wife and our kids and their families and others too. But also because there is still so much work to be done on earth to help build God’s kingdom until he does call me home. I thought of all the people who won’t ever have the experience of standing before the throne of God, basking in his majesty, because they don’t belong to his family.

So as the car swerved and slipped a little more, I was reminded that this is all very real, eternally real. What if? What if the car in front of me left the road and the people were immediately ushered into eternity. Would they stand joyfully before the throne of God? Or…would they…. Wow, this was getting a little unnerving. Those people that just passed me going 42 mph looked nice enough. But were they Jesus-followers?

Perhaps we don’t think about heaven enough. If we did, maybe what’s going on in our lives right now would include more passion, real passion, for reaching those who aren’t yet adopted into the family.

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