Saturday, March 7, 2009

Completed as Promised

Road Construction. Those simple two words can invoke so many memories, good and bad, among nearly everyone - but who can appreciate them more than families who attempt to go on long summer vacations? My first experience with road construction was when I had my driver's permit. I had never driven on the interstate (freeway, for you Californians) before, and Dad decided that Kansas would be a good/easy place to start. Well, is was on our weekend trip to Denver (and that in and of itself is another story - a weekend trip that includes 28 hrs. of driving. . . crazy idea, don't try it) and we drove through the night to maximize our daylight hours there. I had the 1-3 am shift. Now, logically, this would mean that my first time on the interstate would be easier - less traffic in the middle of the night, right? Not so - about 5 minutes down the road, we start seeing signs for road construction. Soon, the our lane crossed the median and I had to drive for over 2 hours with head-on traffic, mostly semi-trucks, and at interstate-speeds. This was also my first night driving experience. . . headlights just complicate things. Oh, and did I mention that I was driving our 12 passenger van? With the entire family in it?

That was stressful. I'm sure you yourself have many trying and/or funny situations of when you have had to deal with road construction. It slows everything down. You often feel like you're waiting hours and hours, and it seems especially pointless if it's for a road that you hardly ever drive on, and don't really care if they repave. Or, maybe it seems to you as though the pavement is just fine - why redo something that already works?

On a trip to Jefferson City last month, I saw a sign for road construction along Highway 63. The sign said something about Adding Lanes during the summer of 2008. In a long, diagonal slant across the sign was an orange strip with black writing. It blodly read "Completed as Promised." What an encouraging thing, to know that the work had been finished, and in the timing that had been originally planned! Although we didn't appreciate the construction period of things, we definitely noticed how nice the extra passing lanes were, and how much faster *cough* I mean safer, we were able to drive on the new, smooth pavement.

Today is the one month anniversary of the passing of a dear friend, Lisa Pettijohn. She fought cancer valiantly for 4 years, and left behind a loving husband, and 5 children. So many would view this as a tragedy, and in some ways, it is. It hardly seems right, or fair, that one so young would have to leave her family, who needed and adored her so much. That she, who had such a powerful testimony for Christ, should be taken to Him, and be no longer able to share His love in this world.
And yet, as we were reminded over and over again at the service that celebrated her life, we can mostly find overwhelming peace and joy through her passing away. Mrs. Pettijohn was like Highway 63 - and from the moment she accepted the Father's free gift of grace, He began His construction. He didn't post any signs for her, or her family and friends, giving a time-table for what He planned to do. But as the Holy Spirit dwelt in her heart and she began to live that new life He called her too, the bumps in the pavement began to be smoothed. Yes, there were undoubtedly days when those on the road grew cranky, when the storms of life threatened to slow down the work, and when, for undetermined reasons, progress wasn't made as intended.

However, this February 7th, 2009, God stamped the sign of Lisa's life with a huge, orange "Completed as Promised" sticker. No more bumpy roads - no more narrow lanes - no more potholes - no more delays. The transformation He had begun in her here on earth was fully realized as she entered the throne room of our Savior, and he said to her, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." We too can take hope in this promise. We do not know the day, nor the hour that He shall take us home - but we have confidence that He will one day finish His work with us here on earth, and we shall join Lisa and the other saints in dancing joyously before our Father, our Bridegroom, our Friend. As He put it in Revelation 21 and 22:

. . . I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new! To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

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