The Celestial Chronicles (8)
Stories imagining Christian service from Heaven’s point of view
Given in Exchange
Emma wrapped another dainty glass bowl in the tissue paper and nestled it among the others already safely in the box. She refused to let the burning feeling at the front of her eyes turn into yet more tears. She had already cried so much she felt ashamed; besides, her tears would only drip all over the glass and ruin her labours to make everything perfect for the new possessors of all her most-treasured possessions.
When she handed over the glass bowls and other kitchen items to the Palmer family later, she would smile. She would not let them see the pain, the cost of parting from everything she loved.
Grimly, she wondered what all the church ladies who thought her so heroic would have said had they witnessed all the tears as she packed up her beloved home. They thought she was made of the same stuff as some of the great missionary heroes they had read about. Emma had read about them too and she was quite certain she was nothing like real missionaries. She was no brave heroine, stalking fearlessly through African jungles, joyfully reaching far flung places with the gospel all the while indifferent to disease, heat, terrifying wildlife, and horrible insects. She didn’t even like tiny spiders!
She was weak, fainthearted, faltering, regretful about the things she was leaving behind, wondering for the thousandth time if they’d correctly understood the will of God for their lives; wondering why them, when she was so often faithless; wondering how on earth she and Simon would manage when they were alone, half a world away from the things that they knew and the people they loved. Oh, except that God was there too.
Once more she lifted her cares to Him in prayer, and for the thousandth time she was granted peace.
From close beside Emma, her personal angelic Guardian, Yech, carefully counted her tears and captured their number for the Records of Heaven. The inner grief that continued when she bravely dried her literal tears was measured in Heaven too. In the Courts of Heaven, the Treasure House was notified of the total measure of the sacrifice that Emma had made, and an angel collected the precious stones to counterbalance the scales against the weight of anguish. Sparkling diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and many more spectacular gems were piled high – until they were a hundred times greater than the measure of her sacrifice. Then they were stored safely in the room which bore Emma’s heavenly name.
Meanwhile, Adlai, the Celestial Minister who was responsible for recording the Roles and Responsibilities which were granted to the Redeemed of Earth for services rendered for the cause of Heaven, instructed his administrators to carefully record the earthly loss of Emma’s home and possessions. The heavenly estate she was granted in their place was more magnificent than the grandest palace on Earth.
Yech followed as his young charge determinedly swallowed more tears, squared her shoulders, and set off to the Palmers to give away her final box of household treasures.
When her home was sold and her last possession gone, Emma was far wealthier than she had ever been before. She had exchanged it all for treasure in another currency; the resulting riches were not only staggering in their unimaginable splendour, but they would last forever.