The Celestial Chronicles (9)
Stories imagining Christian service from Heaven’s point of view
Judith couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t feel inadequate. If it wasn’t about the weight she had gained (and lost and gained and lost and gained again), it was her clothes (now ancient and usually too tight), her home (never quite clean), or the children’s misbehaviour (Tony’s tantrum in church on Sunday was awful!). In the middle of Tony’s unholy tantrum over something so insignificant she couldn’t even remember what it was, she’d realised she was still wearing her slippers. It was the ultimate humiliation that on top of everything else that had already gone wrong that day, she’d gone to church in her slippers! Thankfully no one had teased her about it; she wasn’t sure she would have been responsible for her own actions if Ray, with his perfect Stepford-type-wife, factory-made kids, and always jocular outlook, had laughed at her. She desperately hoped that her slippers were shoe-like enough to go unnoticed, but at the same time she had blamed her husband, Tim, for not noticing. Then she felt like a horrible (and inadequate) wife too!
She would have liked to accept that her feeling of inadequacy was just part of a very busy stage in life and that every other mother of young children felt the same; except that her church was full of young mothers who looked as if they’d just stepped off a catwalk, and whose equally young children seemed to have been purchased from a store specialising in perfect (and church-ready!) children. Presumably where Ray had got his.
She was certain she was the odd one out, the non-coper who would always be the one in need of help, but never in a position to offer it. So, she had stopped asking for any. She could never escape the mortifying feeling that these other ‘scrummy mummies’ looked on her with pity and disdain when her rumpled brood of children came tumbling through the church doors, usually late and quarrelling in loud whispers about which seat they would occupy in the row of identical seats that only differed in value because a sibling had chosen it first. No one else’s kids seemed to do that.
Tim patiently encouraged her to pray about it all, to switch focus to the Lord and forget about what anyone else might think. “Think on what is true about the situation,” he urged, quoting the verse from Philippians, “Whatever things are true – think on these things.” It was easier said than done and whenever she tried it, all she could think was, ‘but it’s true that I am completely inadequate!’
One day she had a breakthrough: a simple revelation that what was true about her situation was not her own subjective feelings – the comfort came from looking at things from Heaven’s point of view, from the perspective of The Truth.
Yoshi, Judith’s personal Guardian Angel, watched the breakthrough with satisfaction. On the outside, there was no dramatic difference in Judith’s busy routine; the demands of her family remained the same. But Judith was learning to snatch glimpses of how God viewed her situation, which is how Yoshi saw her too: Arrayed in clothes of righteousness. Purchased at infinite cost and, to the Creator of the Universe, of infinite value. Inhabiting a weak body subject to emotions for the fleeting moments lived in the Realm of Time but fitted to inhabit the splendour of Heaven for all eternity. She didn’t even belong to Earth: she was equipped for Heaven.
Inadequate? Of course she was. Every one of the Redeemed of Earth were that in the Realm of Time. As Judith began to focus on the bits about her that mattered most to God (the unseen, not the seen), as she strove to display the Fruit of the Spirit in small tasks she accomplished through all the frustrations of her day, she accrued treasure in Heaven.
She couldn’t see the precious gems placed in her heavenly account; mostly she still felt like she achieved nothing. But one day – when days of time had ended and the Realm of Time gave way to endless Eternity – she would not be subject to the frustrations of dealing with small children:
Instead, she would rule angels.