Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5 months from now

That's when Cassie will wake up and head to her first college class at Baylor.

That's when it will hit us both that she's not coming back from vacation in just a couple of days...or home from the mission trip that she spent a month on. That first day...when she wakes up with almost no help from an alarm...when her heart will be jumping and her face beaming with smiles for everyone she sees. She'll be so excited. I know not only because she loves new things...new places...new people. She'll finally be starting what she's been waiting on for so long.

But 5 months? How quick is that?? 7 months ago school started on her senior year. That was yesterday to me. 18 years ago, she just learned to sit up on her own. Happened just last week. 23 years ago, I started my first college class...with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. Cassie wasn't even a glimmer on the distant horizon of my plans for me. How long ago was that? About a month.

I've had a lot of people ask about Cassie leaving. Are we ready? How hard is it going to be? What do the girls think? Is she excited? Answers: Probably not. More than we know right now, but better than we might expect. Sad and excited for her. Oh, my, yes.

When they hear about how sad we all are, they usually try to offer sweet comfort. But I've noticed that everyone's answers come from the same place my thoughts try to go to...who Cassie is...what God's done in the past in her...how she's responded to teaching, training, experiences in her life. Everything you can see. You can hear them, can't you? She'll be fine. She'll love it there. She does so well with people. She's already shown so often that she'll make good decisions. She loves the Lord. She serves so many. She goes the extra mile. She'll only be 35 miles away. She'll be great.

Isn't that how we are? Look around us...try to find that hopeful place. See what we can see...and lean on it. I mean well when I do it to others. Show them in their lives where God's already worked. Show them how He's prepared them for the task ahead. I've got precedent in Scripture for it. But just one chapter later in Psalms God gives us the same word He showed me in Colossians last week. Here's both of them:

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
Psalm 146:5-7

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and of the love that you have for all the saints,
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel...
Colossians 1:3-5
How far short my hope is usually placed! To hope in Cassie...to hope in past works of God...to hope in anything I can see is far below the truest hope I have for her. My Hope must be the Lord Himself. He is the creator of faith and faithfulness. It is He that will faithfully keep her until the end. He is the executor of justice. It is He that will guard her and protect her until the Day. How secure is my hope that is in heaven. How fleeting is any hope that is set here below.

He has given us good fruit to taste in Cassie's life that tell she is His and is on her way. But that fruit was not meant to be stored up for tomorrow. Like the manna that appeared to the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, what we have is today's...for today...and to give us remembrance of God who supplies every day. To store it up...to gather more than you needed for that day was a sin...and would turn to rot in your tent. Why would it be a sin? Because to gather more meant that you didn't trust the Lord...you doubted that God who was faithful today would be faithful tomorrow. So, you stored some up...just in case.

The idea that I would look to what God has done in the past for encouragement of hope isn't sin. That I would look for good fruit in Cassie's life to lead me to rejoicing in the life of Christ within her? That's certainly not sin. Paul spoke of it all the time like here and here. But Paul's trust...his faith...his hope in them wasn't built on what he could see in them and for them and from them. For me store up these things so I could feed on them in the fall when she's not here every day? That's not a position or a feeling that I should feel sympathy for and in fact is one to guard against...for at it's core what I'm doubting is not Cassie, but God. God's faithfulness is on trial. God's promises are at stake. God's ability to finish what He begins is what I have on trial day by day.

Charles Spurgeon put it like this:
Too many in the church of God regard unbelief as if it were a calamity commanding sympathy, rather than a fault demanding censure as well. . . . Doubts are among the worst enemies of your souls. Do not entertain them. Do not treat them as though they were poor forlorn travelers to be hospitably entertained, but as rogues and vagabonds to be chased from thy door. Fight them, slay them, and pray God to help thee to kill them, and bury them, and not even to leave a bone or a piece of a bone of a doubt above ground. Doubting and unbelief are to be abhorred, and to be confessed with tears as sins before God. We need pardon for doubting as much as for blasphemy. We ought no more to excuse doubting than lying, for doubting slanders God and makes him a liar. (HT: Pyromaniacs)
So, the question is will I be ready in 5 months to have my hope "built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness"? Will I say at that day that I "dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name"? Will all other ground truly be sinking sand? Or will I be casting about for jars to store my wormy, smelly manna from yesterday?

5 months. 5 short months to set my gaze on Christ more firmly than it is. Help me, will you? When I falter...when I fall...remind me not of what He's done, but that He's done according to His steadfast love which will never fail. Remind me that He who began that good work in her is faithful. Remind me that Christ always...always...finishes what He starts. Set my gaze back up...higher than my flesh wants to look...to the One who never fails. Set my anchor more firmly in the bedrock of 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 by telling me that it is God who is faithful and it is God who established Cassie in Christ, and has anointed her and who has also put His seal on her and I both and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

I love to hear encouragement about how Cassie has blessed lives...to hear testimony of what Christ has done it her...I, like every other mom I know, love to hear praise of my girls. But it won't ground me...won't hold my weight when the days are dark. God in Christ will uphold me. And will never fail either of us...not now...and certainly not in 5 short months.