Catalina picked up a bug again. But so far, it hasn’t progressed to a dangerous point. Whew. She’s stuffed up and coughing but smiley, interactive, and eating well.
I was stressed out when she came down with another respiratory illness. After all it was just one month ago that she had her second confinement. We tried our best to isolate her. I made people wear masks. No sick person was allowed near her. She was kept at home when we went out. But she developed a cold nonetheless.
While I was running I had my prayer time. I shared with the Lord my concern and worry. I was so paranoid about Catalina being sick because I didn’t want her to relive being in the hospital again. At night I watched her and held her just to make sure she could sleep in an upright position to ease her congestion. I felt discouraged that all my efforts to protect her in the last month amounted to this. But God spoke to me. He told me, hey, this is normal. People get sick. The perfect, pristine, germ-free, problem-free world I want for Catalina and the rest of my kids does not exist here. This is earth. In this world, there is disease, heart ache, poverty, injustice and suffering. There are natural disasters (like the recent earth quake in Bohol), calamities and evil people.
However, the sentiment that followed was…don’t lose heart. This isn’t home. This isn’t it. This isn’t final.
I need to back track a little and explain that we have been at the finishing stages of our housebuilding. The prospect of our own home was making me feel more situated on earth than ever before. I could finally settle down and root myself somewhere. No more condo living (which always felt very transient.) This was going to be a home to grow old in and enjoy our children in.
I had visions of the life we would have…the children playing in the yard, gardening, homeschooling in our new study room, cooking in our much bigger kitchen, going for evening walks as a family, spending time in the family room, having barbecues on the patio, entertaining guests, and on and on. Each of these fantasies was haloed by fair weather clouds and sparkly sunshine.
Then pop! Catalina’s cold happened. I needed to be reminded that this is a passing, fading, fallen world.
In a very subtle way, I saw the house as the fulfillment of my earthly wishes. But here’s what God has been impressing upon me: Don’t make this heaven. Don’t anchor your heart here, in this disease-stricken world (disease-stricken in more ways than just the physical). Do not fall in love with it. Enjoy your new home when it comes but don’t forget, this is just earth. Don’t get too cozy and comfortable. You are not in your permanent residence yet. You are still in transit. And while you are on temporary status don’t forget your real purpose.
My real purpose is tell people about God. God loves us. He gave us his son, Jesus, to die for us and pay the penalty of sin so we can have eternal life.
Whatever happiness and blessings we receive now are but a foreshadow of the riches of eternity. And whatever trials we experience at present ought to make us long for what God has prepared for us. The apostle Paul so beautifully describes it as this: “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB)