|Image from www.skitterphoto.com|
We used to hear that question a lot from our little girls riding to Grandma and Grandpa's house in the back seat of the car.
We would try to explain how much time remained in our trip in terms they could understand: "It's two Rugrats shows and a Barney" meant that we were still an hour away.
They would settle in, satisfied, ready to be patient a little bit longer, knowing that the joy of getting to their grandparents' house was awaiting them at the end of the journey.
We no longer have little girls riding in the back seat of our car. One of those little girls is in Heaven, and the other is happily married and I look forward to the day that she is driving her little ones to Grandma and Grandpa's house!
So now it's not our kids who are asking, "How many more minutes?"
How long, O Lord, until we see our Hannah again? How many more minutes (hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades) until we get to Heaven?
It's hard to be patient when you're looking forward to a time of great joy, isn't it? It can seem like the time just crawls by.
We found that those road trips went by faster when the girls had something to do to keep them busy while they were waiting. We played the ABC game, sometimes fighting over who got to claim the "Q" in "Antique"; we sang songs; we listened to audio books. Anything to help the time pass ... and it worked!
The theme verse for the While We're Waiting ministry to bereaved parents is Romans 8:25: "But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."
A ministry consultant once told us that we needed to change the name of the ministry. He said, "It sounds like you're kicked back in a recliner, doing nothing, just waiting to get to Heaven."
Obviously, we didn't follow his advice ... because nothing could be further from the truth. We are waiting eagerly ... persevering until that day. Our desire is to keep busy doing what God has for us to do until this particular road trip is over. Our goal is to live well (by God's grace alone) while we're waiting. Nothing will make the time pass more quickly than that!
And not only does the time pass more quickly ... the trip has been made so much richer by the fellow travelers we've met along the way.
"How many more minutes?"
I asked myself this question again the other day, but in an entirely different context. For Valentine's Day, my husband gave me a gift certificate for a 55-minute massage, and I've saved it all this time, waiting for just the right time to use it. I finally decided there would never be a "perfect" time, so last Friday I hopped in the car and drove to the spa.
The massage therapist began to do her magic and it was Ahhhhh, so nice. But pretty soon I started thinking, "I wonder how many minutes I have left. I had 55 when I started ... so maybe now I have 42, or 29, or what if I only have 7? I don't want this to be over yet!" Before I knew it, I was no longer enjoying the massage, because I was too busy thinking about how many more minutes I had left, and wishing there were more. I had to repeatedly remind myself to enjoy the moment I was in.
Isn't it awesome to know that when we get to Heaven, we'll never again have to ask "How many more minutes"? The joys of Heaven will never end. We'll never have to worry about running out of time. No matter how many minutes pass, there will still be infinitely more to come. Every mile of this road trip we're on will be redeemed!
"How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts day after day and have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me ... But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord's praise, for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:1b-2; 5-6