I waddled down the narrow aisle of the plane for the overnight flight to London. Quite pregnant with my first child, I spied a lovely area where I’d be so much more comfortable, able to prop up my swollen ankles and have a litle privacy, to boot. I had my eye on an unoccupied row of seats with a curtain that could be pulled around and rescue the passenger lucky enough to be seated there from the public humiliation of sleeping, drooling and head-lolling for all to see. Once we were cleared for takeoff, I pried myself out of my assigned row of narrow coach seats and slid back into the curtained area that had to be the best seat on the plane. I was quickly ousted by the flight attendant. Seems this was their plush hideout, not for the general public.
Embarrassment aside, I still had a ticket on the plane, and I was going to get to London, no matter where I sat. But, for sure, there was a better place to be sitting!
“I should’ve known,” I thought, returning to my seat and my husband’s smirk. It had seemed too good to be true. I should’ve known better. I’d been lured in by how good it looked.
A lot of people think the Good News of Jesus is like that. Too good to be true. They think they’ll get pulled in only to find out they’ve misunderstood. My dad thought this.
I talk about my dad a lot, not because I’m judging him. But because of the fear I’ve had that my life would look like his life.
I’ve had a need to make sense of his life and his relationship with Jesus. If my dad believed Jesus was His Savior, why was his life filled with such despair? Would this be my inheritance, too? A life of misery, loneliness, and alcoholism to dull the pain of believing the Good News is too good to be true.
My dad had his ticket of salvation. He was going to get to heaven. But he sure wasn’t sitting in the best seat, enjoying all the blessings and freedom that Christ purchased for him. (Gal 3:10)
My dad BELEIVED that Jesus Christ was the Son of God whose death on the cross saved him from an eternity in hell. But he’d been deceived into thinking the price of eternity in heaven was paid only in part. The balance would be paid by my dad. The price? Living in hell while he was on earth. My dad lived in the certainty that he was on his own, piecing life together as best he could.
Gregarious in his job and pious in his weekly attendance of church, within the walls of our home, he was tortured and deceived that this was as good as it gets. Whiskey was all that could calm the anguish of this deception.
“Go, you have as you believe,” Jesus told the centurion.
This is huge! HUGE! It explains to me the very sad and heavy life of my father. He had as he believed. (I sure hope I don’t sound preachy or that I think I have all the answers. Like you, I work this out daily, and sometimes, publicly in this blog.)
Professing Jesus had gotten him into heaven but RELYING on his own efforts to keep his place there. My dad was sure his admittance into heaven was some sort of fluke and at any moment, he’d surely be chased out. He attempted to live under the radar of God’s watchful eye. Leaning on his own understanding, he didn’t ask for anything. Didn’t believe for anything other than a seat in the “barely-get-by” section of heaven.
A lie, a wrong belief, leading him to live wrong. All wrong.
Go, you have as you believe.
My father did, indeed, have as he believed.
Jeremiah 17: 5-8 says a man is cursed who trusts in and relies on mankind, making flesh his strength, his mind and heart turning away from the Lord. He will be like a shrub in the parched desert, and he shall not see prosperity when it comes.
But the one who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord, that one is blessed. He’ll be nourished like a tree planted by waters that spreads out its roots by the river.
What a picture! A dry shrub in the desert, wind and dust blowing by it. The brittle snarl of twigs nearly swept away with each gust. And I can see the tree planted by water, spreading out its roots. A glorious, deeply green canopy stretching out over the river with a cool, lush abundance of grass and shade beneath it. Do you see it? Which do you want?
What’s required to be blessed? To believe in, trust in and rely on the Lord. To have hope and confident expectation in Him, not in ourselves.
If I’m looking for God everywhere (Jer 29:13), I can find Him even in this kind of embarrassing story of my seat scouting. That seat I’d been so bold to take on the flight to London was not mine to take. But the place at the Right Hand of the Father was purchased for me by my Savior.
And there’s a seat for you too.
We take that seat by faith, by believing Jesus when He said He came to fulfill the law and to give us life in abundance.
Believing for this, rather than the inheritance of the dusty, dried out shrub, that’s what allows me to have a different inheritance than my own father did.
Am I saying there are no troubles? No. Scripture promises we’ll have trouble in this world.
Am I oversimplifying? Absolutely. I encourage you, friend, discover for yourself all Jesus wants to show you in His Word. Let it quench your fear, satisfy your soul, and dispel wrong beliefs you’ve adapted your life around!
Wrong believing will surely lead to wrong living. Discover your rightful place. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you’ve already been upgraded to Heaven. Remaining under His Wing? That’s the plush hideout! The Secret Place. The best place.
The most power you have in your life is the power to choose. Where will you sit during this journey? You have as you believe. Come boldly.
If you need help sorting through what you’re believing, please visit BridgetAndersonCoach.com. I’m a certified Christian Life Coach and it’s my mission to help women find the /freedom and fullness God has for them.