Monday, September 27, 2010

Treasure in Heaven

It’s been ages since I posted anything here. If you missed me at all, well, I’m sorry. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to write about; instead, I’ve just found it painful and difficult to write about the things that have been on my mind and heart.

Earlier this year, right before Mother’s Day, my brother-in-law died very suddenly. He and my sister had driven to upstate New York to pick up their daughter from college, and were driving back to their home outside Washington D.C., when he became very ill. As my sister described it later, he was fine in the morning when they set off for home, but within a few hours he felt terrible. So terrible, in fact, that she pulled off the road and called 911 for an ambulance. He was taken to a nearby hospital and died shortly after, of what the attending physician described as “heart trouble”. He was only in his mid-50’s, and without any apparent health issues. He wasn’t overweight, and didn’t suffer with high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, and he was not a smoker or heavy drinker. The loss was understandably devastating to my sister and niece, and shocking to our family as well as his friends and co-workers. It would be many weeks before my sister learned that the definitive cause of his early and sudden death was mitral valve prolapse, a genetic condition of which he was unaware.

I wish I could say with certainty that he is now with Jesus in heaven, but I just don’t know. When I traveled back to DC for the memorial service (aside – the service was held in a Unitarian church, which is worthy of another entire post), I learned that as a child, he had been raised in the Catholic church, but clearly, he was not a practicing Catholic. And from the choices he and my sister made forbidding the exposure of my niece to anything Christian, I had concluded he and my sister are nonbelievers. This has been heavy on my heart all summer. I am heartbroken for him, and I feel guilty for doing nothing to reach him. My siblings and I are not close, and we hardly ever see each other, perhaps only at weddings, the occasional family reunion, or as in this case, a memorial service. Sigh. So even though I think the last time I saw him was 8 or 9 years ago, I still feel guilty that in the times I did see him, I made no attempt to speak to him, or to any of my siblings for that matter, about the gospel. Although I have prayed for their salvation for years, the extent of my attempt to “reach” out to any of them with the good news has been my deliberate selection of Christmas cards, carefully chosen to emphasize what I believe - that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, not snowmen, stockings, Christmas trees, or ‘Happy Holidays’. But now that he is gone, I feel such guilt and shame for not doing more. Pathetic. Ouch.

Fast forward….

A few weeks ago, hubby and I were watching David Jeremiah’s show, ‘Turning Point Ministries’ on TV, where he was talking about his new book "The Coming Economic Armageddon". He quoted the passage in Matthew 6:19-21

19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This has been stuck in my head ever since..... So what exactly are treasures in heaven that we can (and should) be storing up here on earth? The only thing I know of that fits that description is relationships. My relationship with Jesus, and my relationships with people. To me this means reaching people for Jesus, building relationships with people here on earth that will continue and will be treasured in heaven.


I feel like I blew it with my brother-in-law, and am continuing to blow it with the rest of the lost in my family. All these months later, I still have NO IDEA what to say to my sister. Yet these things, these relationships with my relatives, reaching the lost, these are the treasures Jesus tells me to store up. But yet, in the case of my sister, my niece, my other siblings, I simply don’t know what to do or say. So, for now, I keep in touch, I tell her I love her, I ask her how she is doing, and I pray pray pray.


twinkle said...

I'm sorry about your brother-in-law's death and the painful process you are working through. Don't let the past haunt you. Learn from it. Confess anything you feel God is convicting you of. Ask Him to use you NOW! This could be the right time to give your testimony to your sister. No one can argue with your personal testimony. Remember that when given an opportunity to witness. So many other things are based on our FAITH. We believe it by faith. Well, that doesn't make sense to those who don't know Jesus.
Let the Holy Spirit do HIS Work of salvation in your loved ones' lives. You can pray for them. You can ask God for a chance to share Your witness with them. You can open up a door of opportunity for them...maybe buy them a book or a Bible that will help them come to Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this.
I've seen God use some very simple things in my life to touch a lost person's heart. He was already working in the life of these lost souls before I ever came along. Plant a seed. Someone else will water it. Be intentional in your prayers for them. And take advantage of every opportunity to share what is the reason for your hope.
I would have to ask God to forgive me for how I failed and then ask Him to show me how to move forward with this yearning in your heart. I believe He has a plan for you in this.
God, work this out for Your Glory. All You ask from us is to love You and love others. Open up a door of opportunity for Your Grace to come in. Holy Spirit, work in this situation. Do a work of salvation. Do a work of forgiveness. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Cindy said...

Dearest Adrienne,

I am so sorry for your loss. I know that you are hurting for your remaining family members. I will be praying that God will give you the opportunity and the right words to share your Jesus with them.