Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do Pillow Pets Go To Heaven?

When our first daughter got her tonsils out I told her we’d buy her a pillow pet for the surgery and recovery.  I didn’t know that all the girls would end up getting their tonsils out and I’d have to fork over the money for many more pillow pets. 

Of all the girls, Maren loves hers most.  Along with her two blankies.  She carries them everywhere, sleeps with them, cuddles with them, eats with them.  On the day of her surgery they put her pillow pet right in the wagon they use to take the kids back to the operating room.

The other night while I was cooking supper she came out carrying her precious comfort items and asked me if she could take her pillow pet and blankies to heaven.  What’s a mom to do?  I don’t want to freak her out but I am pretty sure that telling the truth is the right thing to do.  I’m more than pretty sure, I’m totally sure.

I told her that in heaven we’ll have all we need or want in Jesus.  She didn’t really like that answer.  She stomped her foot and said she wasn’t going to listen to me.  I think we came to some type of understanding towards the end of the evening when I told her God loves and will take care of us.  Maybe she’ll have a real penguin in heaven to cuddle with instead of just a stuffed one. 

It’s so hard to explain things like that to a four year old and it’s not just because they are kids.  It’s because I can’t fathom heaven.  And I think I have a twisted view of heaven and the ultimate meaning of our walk with Jesus. 

Do I want to be saved and love God because I don’t want to go to hell? Or because I want comfort?  Or because I want to see my deceased relatives and friends again?  So I love him and serve him maybe with some ulterior motives.  Maybe like if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. 

That’s why we hold on to our pathetic things that give us comfort here.  We hold on to our material possessions, our travels, our athletic conquests and our career successes because we can’t really believe that what God has for us is that good.  We can’t let go of the good we have here.

I learned a lot about streets of gold and mansions growing up in church which I think has led me to believe that heaven is going to be the ultimate in self indulgence.  So I better be good and go to church to make sure I get that chance.

What has changed in my faith since then is the realization that Jesus Christ is the prize.  It doesn’t matter at all to me what is in heaven or what I have to leave behind here as long as I am with him.  He is more amazing and wonderful than any of the meaningless little things I cling to.  Or the things that are meaningful.  He is still more amazing that that.  So it’s not about what’s there or isn’t there, it’s about WHO’s there.

I don’t love him and serve him just so I can get to heaven, I love him and serve Him because He is worthy.  He is the Son of God, the giver of all good things.  Full of mercy and compassion and grace.  I don’t just want the things that He offers, I want Him.

When He opened my eyes to that, my views on the things of this world changed.  I don’t really expect my four year old to understand all that.  But I hope that through what I am learning I can teach them that Jesus is it.  He is all we need.  Both with my words and my actions.

There are things that are infinitely more important than chasing after and holding onto the things of this world.  And I know this; I trust in a God that is loving and merciful.  He cares for our needs like a mother cares for a baby. 

It’s a hard stand to take as a parent or a person.  People will not understand the way your live or the decisions you make.  They may look down on you or ridicule you.  That is the cost of following Jesus.  We do not live as the world lives. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:1-2

So, I don’t know if there are pillow pets or blankies in heaven, but if there aren’t, I have a feeling we won’t miss them at all.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4