My Final Witness

Have you seen the pictures shared by photo-bloggers like valsdarkroom?  Photos of abandoned homes?  Some of them look like the residents just walked away without taking a thing.  Others look like they tried to pack in a hurry but left more than they took.  Most of them reveal at least a few clues about those who once lived there, including hobbies.  All of them are haunting:  what could have happened to cause such abandonment?

One day my home will look just like them.

lightning-503155_640Tuesday, 24MAY2011

It’s 10:30 at night, and I am sitting in the dark, the result of a power outage from a strong swift storm that blew through here (Virginia Beach) earlier this afternoon.  I am aided in my writing only by the light of a small book-light and an oil lamp.

This local storm was so strong it tore the chimney off our neighbor’s home.  Many trees have fallen or been stripped of branches, which now litter the streets.  The power company could only say that it was impossible for them to estimate when they could get the power back up as they had a multitude of outages to deal with.

Earlier today, we woke up to the news that Joplin, Missouri, was the latest victim of a violent tornado, just one of the many that have ravaged our country this spring.  And of course, the repeated earthquakes in Japan are still fresh in my memory.

Consequently, I cannot help but think of what these natural disasters are telling us.  Jesus said that natural disasters would be a sign of the end of the world as we know it (Matt. 24:7b-8).  The apostle Paul told us in Romans 8:18-23 that the earth itself groans, eagerly waiting for the culmination of our salvation—that is, the glorification of true believers at Christ’s return.  This poor earth cannot tolerate much longer the sin and evil that has been allowed to run rampant and wreak its havoc.  It was not created to bear such a burden!  I think nature is telling us that JESUS IS TRULY COMING SOON!

Now, I have never been apocalyptically oriented.  There are those who seem to thrive on identifying the doom and gloom potential in any and every political or natural event.  I am not one of them.  Yet, even for someone like me—who would rather close her eyes and stick her fingers in her ears and loudly sing some happy tune—these signs of the time are just getting too big and bright to ignore.

So I’m thinking more about how Jesus is coming soon.  (I doubt He’ll come back on any day that somebody has publicized as the day for the Rapture because I don’t see God sharing His glory that way.  But barring foolish declarations, He could come back any minute!)  And tonight, I am especially contemplating how that after I am gone (caught up in the rapture), my home will be looted.[1]

The thought of my personal belongings—my cherished possessions—being taken or destroyed, naturally wants to stir up negative feelings of loss and violation.  I refuse to dwell there, though, understanding that in the light of heaven, I won’t care as much.

So, I am wondering:  what will my home and its contents say to whomever walks in my door?  Like an instant archaeological dig, what will the things I leave behind say about me?  About God?  Will the books, magazines, CD’s and DVD’s agree more than disagree that God-loving, Jesus-following people once lived here?

As this person walks through my home, will s/he see the beauty and orderliness of the God we proclaimed in the arrangement and care we gave to the contents?  Will it show our thankfulness and appreciation for God’s provision?  Or will our neglect and disorder send a confusing message of stress, chaos and contempt?

Will the internet history tattle on us or bear witness to integrity?  Will the family portraits and other photos convey the godly values of love, family and marital faithfulness and purity?  Will the financial records convey good stewardship and trust in God?  Will the Bibles come across as highly treasured and well-used books or as dust collectors?  Will the clothes in my closet, the makeup in my bathroom or the food in my kitchen reveal that there were other gods in this house? smoke-1896284_640

 

Even when this person first walks through my front door, will my home greet them in a way that reflects the open arms of my loving Savior?  And if it’s possible, will the presence of God have been so consistently rich before our departure that it lingers in the air like the fragrance of a scented candle even though it’s no longer burning—as though the walls were saturated from prolonged exposure?

Oh God, I pray—with tears flowing—that it would be so!  Oh, that my home—that my material goods—would find such noble and eternal purpose by providing a final witness from me to the world that all that the Bible says about You is true and that life surrendered to You is worth it!  They will need to know it.  May my home be a refuge in those trying days.  May the wealth You provided and that we stored within it convey Your generous love—and ours—as they take the things they need.  They won’t be stealing, for in that future day I will be giving it away!  And with every gift they take, may they walk away from my home …and closer to Yours.

————————————————————————————————

It is now 12:25 in the morning, and the power has returned.  Normal life will most likely quickly resume in the morning.  But I don’t want my previous perspective on my material goods to return.  May every decision regarding the purchase, retention and care of possessions bear the marks of tonight’s thoughts.  Knowing that we Christians are not long for this world and that we are leaving imprints with everything we say and do, it is my desire to choose wisely and to do all with eternity and Kingdom impact in mind.  As God wills, then, so be it.  Amen.

Thanks for reading!

So, what would your house say about you?

 

[1] I’ve recently formulated an opinion that the wealth of material possessions we Christians will leave behind will be a contributing factor to the sense of peace and prosperity the post-Rapture world will briefly feel.

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