In the last two months, I’ve spent over 3 weeks travelling. First to Uganda then to the sleepy little fort of collins, or as you might know it, Fort Collins.
By about the second or third night in Fort Collins, I began to think. Why do all this? Why bother? None of it is going to matter. I got to help lead around 90 Musana kids in an awesome VBS in Africa, and I got to help lead 23 crazy but awesome freshman boys at a camp in Fort Collins. So much time, energy and money went into both trips by so many people. And at times I felt guilty.
Guilty that I wasn’t smart enough, or wise enough to make the most of each opportunity. Guilty that I wasn’t doing enough. Guilty that sometimes, I honestly just wanted to go home. Guilty that, out of hundreds or thousands of people God could have put there, instead, he put me. And I am not really worth much more than a hill of beans. Honestly.
But the biggest thing, I’ve sat down here twenty times at least to begin to write what happened, and I can’t. I just can’t. Because I’m not smart enough to be able to even begin to articulate what God is doing in the lives and hearts of a whole bunch of kids I care about. I’ve tried. Many times. And then I delete it all because I know it can’t match what I felt, or what I experienced.
I can’t begin to tell you what it’s like to stand in a room of 450 Ugandan kids that are singing their heart out that they want to be like Jesus. I can’t begin to tell you what it’s like to talk about real life struggles with a group of high school kids that are pursuing Jesus. I can’t begin to tell you what it’s like to get asked to talk about Jesus in front of an African church and feeling a burden to share what it’s like to follow Jesus when following Jesus is hard. Or leading a small group where we talked for almost 2 hours about real life stuff like gay marriage and drugs. I can’t begin to tell you what God has done in my heart and my life in the last two months.
I think sometimes – most of the time – it’s easy for me to overthink what God wants from me, and underthink what God is doing in the world. Every little peek, every little glimpse that he gives us of what he’s doing through us isn’t meant for us to think “I wonder what this means for my purpose”, but instead, “I wonder if this is a glimpse at heaven.”
All of life is marching towards eternity. And heaven isn’t about us doing anything. Not sitting on clouds. Not strumming a harp. But heaven is about living. The way God intended us to live. In a community of people who love each other, and worship God. That’s what heaven is going to be.
Throw out everything you’ve ever thought about heaven. The gold paved streets, the big mansion, the idea that heaven is all about having your every wish fulfilled. Put all that aside and think about all the broken relationships you’ve ever had. Now think if that didn’t exist any more, and all your relationships with other people and God were fixed. Isn’t that what you really want? Isn’t that better?
Camp and Musana were really awesome because I got to build into the most important relationships that will ever exist: the ones that are going to last all of eternity. In 1,000 years we’re going to laugh at all of the silly things that stressed us out. Like how we ran out of name card holders at VBS, or how the freshmen broke a window, a screen and two beds at camp. We’ll forget the time we stayed up until 3am, or the 9.5 hour flight when we all wanted to jump out the door. We’ll forget who did what, or who owes who what, or who lost what meal card.
It’s not that any of that was unimportant at the time. It’s not that what we do in our ministry and our life doesn’t matter. It just won’t matter as much in comparison to the magnitude of heaven. Or the magnitude of the Cross which makes mending relationships with God and other people possible.
Is it possible I’m overthinking what I’m doing, and underthinking where I’m going?
Is it possible heaven changes everything? Not the imaginary one of cartoons, but the real one, with real people, living in a real community, worshipping a very real God.