I remember after my accident a few years back feeling very angry that I had survived. It wasn’t something to be said aloud because it seemed rather insensitive when so many friends and family were still gushing over how lucky I was to be alive. But it was a very real and tangible feeling. A very real and tangible sadness that I was still here on this crumbling earth. A very real and tangible fear of the number of days I still had to be filled with disappointment and jealousy and self-pity and pride and all of the very real and tangible sins ever present in my life. It was like this boulder of anger I was trying to hide beneath the sheets of my hospital bed as my very well-intentioned loved ones asked me how it felt to “have a second chance.”
I waited for that feeling to subside. Waited for the morning when I’d wake up and cry those second-chance tears that everyone expected me to cry. Waited for the overwhelming rush of relief that I would have the chance to tell everyone exactly how I felt about them because you just never know how much time you have and so on and so forth.
But it never really came. That’s not to say that I don’t have moments in which I recognize how blessed I am to have come out of that in one piece. Nearly every time I run I am reminded of how close I came to losing the ability to even walk. I have a very real, very visible scar reminding me of what happened every time I wear shorts or shave my legs or tie my shoes. And while I am unthinkably grateful that I can walk and jump and run and dance, I still very often struggle with being thankful to be alive.
Now, before you call my shrink or worse, my grandma, let me clarify that this is not some suicidal wish to just “end it all right here and now.” Rather, I am almost daily overwhelmed with a longing for the place in which sin and sickness and sadness do not exist. The place in which I will be at the feet of the Creator and be no longer restrained by a sinful flesh in worshiping Him. The place in which every last hidden ounce of my soul is overcome by adoration of the living Christ. The place in which my heart is no longer divided.
I so admire Paul’s struggle in Philippians in that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He knows that to die and be with Christ would be “far better,” but feels so strongly compelled to stay and continue his work on the Earth. I pray for a heart that desires to carry out the work of Christ the way that Paul does. I recognize that God has called us to an abundant life here while we long for heaven. I understand that we are to love Him and love his people here on the Earth. To fight for righteousness amidst a world of evil until He calls us home. To be thankful to live another day for His glory and His purposes and His will.
But may I humbly admit that my heart does not always long for those things. That I don’t always seek the abundant life and I don’t always love His people and I don’t always understand His purposes and His will when they include cancer and heartbreak and the sins that don’t seem to ever go away.
I know God. I love Him and in the depths of my heart I trust in His goodness. I trust that my days are purposeful and a part of something so much bigger than I could ever imagine. But man am I ready for home.
Give me the heart of Paul, Lord. My flesh wants the easy way out.