Okay, use your imagination here:
You’re in a prison camp. You and the other prisoners are just barely surviving. You are achingly sick, it’s freezing cold in the middle of winter and your clothes are shredded, your shoes wore out a long time ago and your feet are beaten, bruised, and bloody, but you’ve been told that you will be set free very soon.
You know beyond a doubt that freedom is coming very soon, you don’t know the exact date but you know it throughout your entire being. You know it so surely that when doubts come, they only last for a moment.
Then another prisoner asks you if you want new clothes. Yes, you want new clothes. The prisoner tells you that you’re going to get new clothes but you have to stay imprisoned in the camp.
How are you going to feel?
This is how I feel when people ask how I would feel if I found out tomorrow that there is no cancer in my body, that I’m healed.
It would be like being told that I have to stay in the prison camp to get new clothes, clothes that are going to shred and fall apart and wear out just like my old ones.
I would feel like everything I’ve struggled with and all of the growth and adjustments and learning were all for naught (even though, yes, I know it wouldn’t be). I would feel like I was regressing back to my life before cancer.
I would feel like I’m getting stuck back in the camp having lost my chance for freedom.
Realizing this is why I don’t want to be healed explains why I read and reread over and over the promises God made to the Israelites in exile. The word exile is used over and over. God promises to restore exiles to their homeland, be it a homeland on earth or to a home with Him for all eternity, be they the Israelites thousands of years ago or His children who are in exile today.
Here’s one example of God restoring exiles to their homeland, from Zephaniah 3:
On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
"Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
"The sorrows for the appointed feasts
I will remove from you;
they are a burden and a reproach to you.
At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you;
I will rescue the lame
and gather those who have been scattered.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they were put to shame.
At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,"
says the LORD.
This is the same kind of promise God gave me December 31, when He told me He has prepared a place for me and is coming to take me to be with Him.
The New Heavens and the New Earth are going to be awesome and I’m excited about being in Heaven soon and back here on the restored New Earth sometime in the future. I wish more people knew more about the New Heavens and the New Earth because I think it would rock their world and eliminate many of their fears....
After learning what I’ve learned about Heaven from reading Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, after struggling with and finally coming to grips with facing dying realistically, and remembering God’s promises to me—I don’t want to stay in the camp.
Why would I?
I feel like I’m getting the easy way out.
I get concerned about leaving the people I love who have to stay in the camp and continue to survive. I wonder how they and their children will survive in the camp—and not just survive but bring pockets of hope and light to their corners of the camp.
Besides all of that, I’ve come to view death as the ultimate adventure. In our thrill seeking and risk taking culture you’d think more people would be more excited about finding out what’s next after this life here.
Having said all of that, I am feeling decently well and I am doing things I enjoy with people I enjoy. I feel more of a sense of purpose about my life now than I ever have before.
One of the things I’ve been enjoying is jewelry fabrication. I made a couple of silver pendants that some ladies at work were very interested in me selling to them, so I’ve made a bunch of them to sell. It’s been a fun project and they are almost finished. I’ll post a picture of them later.
I’m not exactly sure how the rest of this ties in... Just to warn those of you who are looking for a sequential idea....
This week was full of high drama of the most serious and entertaining kind with my first grade students.
First, I had to talk to two boys outside the art room because Boy 1 was sobbing and Boy 2 was very suspiciously denying involvement. Boy 1, after four attempts, was finally able to communicate to me that Boy 2 said he was going to get Boy 1 in trouble for something Boy 1 hadn’t done. Boy 1 is a very serious, hard working, sweet student and I was pretty ticked off that Boy 2 made him so upset. I asked Boy 2 what happened and he said that Boy 1 had farted. Bottom line (no pun intended), Boy 1 farted and Boy 2 said he was going to get him in trouble for it. I gave them the teacher lecture about how every single person in the world farts, and that sometimes it just happens. Boy 2 was terribly shocked and said to me, “Even you?” I wanted to say, “No, art teachers are special and we don’t fart.”
Then, another first grade student who was painting got excited and started waving her hand at me. I went over and she said the red paint was weird. I asked what was wrong with it and she said “It smells like ketchup!!! Is this ketchup??” Later on, other students complained about the red paint smelling like tea. So apparently we have a serious problem with the red tempera paint...
On another note, the day after my last post about the piece of junk under my right arm hurting, it stopped hurting so badly. I don’t know who’s praying but thank you very much!! It’s nice not to be in pain and it’s nice not to be distracted by it.