Monday, August 24, 2009

How far is heaven?

One of us recently got the question:

"Are all the Proverbs 31 ladies just blissfully happy all the time?"

I suspect each of us has been asked this question before, in some form. I have.

Just in case you too are under this delusion, or maybe you just haven't read on my blog this year about ... the recent death in my family ... the pressures of my deadlines ... my admissions to dealing with pride, vanity and lust ... the fact that I routinely fly across the country to speak in front of a group of strangers, hopefully without forgetting to pack deodorant and without throwing up from nerves ... that I hate doing laundry ... about my propensity to burn myself in the kitchen... or my unfortunate accident with a bath scrubbie ... you can pop over to Marybeth's blog and read her apt reply.

I wonder if this person is asking are-your-circumstances-always-blissful?, or if she is asking are-you-always-able-to-be-blissful-despite-your-circumstances? Big difference. Absolutely no one's circumstances on earth is alway blissful, and Christians are not guaranteed that either (see John 16:33).

Here are 4 definitions of the word "bliss":

1. supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment
2. Theology. the joy of heaven.
3. heaven; paradise: the road to eternal bliss.
4. a cause of great joy or happiness.

As Jesus said, we can rule out number 4 happening all the time here on earth. That makes expecting a constant state of number 1 in this fallen world, on this side of eternity, unrealistic. The other two are both linked to something beyond this earth. We're linked to that too. Though we're not fully there yet, we can find our bliss in that link.

What I strive to do is to lean into God and trust Him enough to receive His peace, comfort and direction no matter my current circumstances. Sure, I experience anger, frustration, fear, regret and tears just like the next gal - I just try to submit all those feelings and triggers to God. To allow Him to use them as He sees fit ... to change my circumstances, or to change me through them. And I remind myself that my time here is temporary - this is not my true home.

In that, I'm usually able to discover some bliss in the middle of my blunders. In that, I find pieces of definitions 2 and 3. And that is enough for me, for now. So, no bliss-filled perfection here ... just a girl trying her best, with varying degrees of success, to follow Jesus home.

PS. Here's a song I have on my I-pod for those times bliss seems far away:


  1. Do you know how just-very-much I needed this post today?
    I'm not even going to try to be witty or funny or cutesy with this comment....I just wanted to say thanks for giving me a fresh perspective. Today is not a blissful day for me, and I need the reminders that our joy in Christ springs eternal....despite our circumstances.

  2. This is so good Rachel. You all are so real, I love that about you guys.

  3. I have that song on my Ipod too. Great post Rachel! My prayers are still with you and your family in this time of loss. Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. I hope your husband (and you) receive the comfort from the arms of our Father in Heaven!

    Be blessed,


  4. I love it, Rachel! So true!! Someone recently asked me how I had it all together. I told her that if there was a speck of "all together" in my life she was seeing God shining through the cracks of everything else that is falling apart. And it's true! I feel like there is always at least 1 (or 12) ball(s) in the air waiting to drop.
    But we can do it and just do the best we can relying on some Big Help. :)

  5. What a fabulous dissection of bliss! I'm bookmarking this. Thank you, Rachel.


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