Wednesday, April 19, 2017

John 14:2-3 -- On Mansions and Modifications

"In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
John 14:2-3

Reading this today I was struck with how crazy we are sometimes--to doubt that God loves us, or that he is doing all he can to help and save each of us.  These verses are clearly about love, about a desire for unity and community and deep friendship that doesn't just reach one way.  In this same chapter, Jesus tells us "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (verse 18).  He cares, deeply about us.  He wants us to be okay, and happy... and *with him* forever.  We know that this is the same way Heavenly Father feels because he tells us, also in this same chapter, that they are on the same page about everything.  Specifically, he says "the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me" (verse 10).

We get it into our heads sometimes that God has to accept us on our terms, the way we are right now, or he doesn't love us at all.  And if we're just talking about love, he does, so much.  But both you and I know that we are not perfect.  We all have things that we are ashamed of, and that we wish we had never done.  We all have parts of ourselves that we want to excise, and things that make us cringe and shrink and wish no one knew that about us... things in the past that we are trying to forget or overcome.  And the thing is... God loves us enough to not let us suffer like that forever, unable to unreservedly love ourselves and worried about what others will think, and feeling that emptiness within ourselves when we haven't been who we wanted to be, and knowing that there is something more, but never quite being able to get there.

God didn't suffer and die so that we could be saved as we are.  He suffered so we wouldn't *have* to be stuck like this.  His whole plan, and every moment of his existence, is dedicated to saving us from ourselves, and teaching us how to be happier, and better, and how to be whole and okay.  His commandments aren't arbitrary, meaningless power trip fluff.  Each one is designed to help us be successful and happy in life--advice from a loving Father who wants us to avoid as many pitfalls in life as we can.  He wants us to learn this stuff and come back to him, and to share all that he has with us.  That is going to require some self-modification... with lots and lots of help from God of course, but we can't just stay the same if we want true happiness.

I'm looking forward to that mansion myself.  I imagine a room with a soft bed where the sheets feel cool against the cheek, and that you can sleep safely, knowing that in the morning everyone you love will be there, willing to spend time with you.  ... I'd also be cool with a giant library and maybe an aquarium wall, but you know... not trying to be greedy. :)

Today, let's do everything that we can on our side to be there, to have a place in one of the Father's mansions, and to be able to be where Christ is.  If we do our part and make that effort, God will handle all the rest.  He will come again, and receive us unto himself.  Sounds like a good hug opportunity to me.

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