How does the healing and growth I experience on this side of the transition door impact what happens on the other side? Jesus told us to lay up treasures in heaven, letting us know that what we do here impacts the quality of our eternal destiny.
God is eternal and will exist forever. I entered into the eternal world at the instant of my conception. I will have all eternity, starting on this side of the transition door and on into infinity, to keep on learning, growing, exploring and developing- never getting close to catching up with the magnitude of God’s knowledge, skill, creativity, capacity and ability.
I, being finite, am made in the image of the infinite God! Included in the design woven into my unique reflection, with all my limitations, I have character traits that reflect His. I have skills and the ability to learn and create. The capacity to feel a spectrum of emotions. For all eternity.
With this in mind, what are the implications for the amount of my growth in the ‘here and now’ and what happens on the other side as we step through the transition door.
Here is one example that comes to mind. As infants we are supposed to live in an environment in which we are comfortable receiving. Comfortable asking for what we need. But I grew up with a sense that my needs were an inconvenience to others. That I was expected to be stronger than I was and to take care of myself beyond what is appropriate. I developed a life stance of being overly independent. This is a problem I have been working on for years. It is incompatible to letting go of control and being dependent on God to care for me. Incompatible for relaxing into the care of my Good Shepherd. My defenses go up easily without my recognizing it, and my instinct to be strong and self-reliant becomes my default.
How does this impact my ability to receive others and their offers of care into my life? How does this play out into growing my capacity for “fullness of joy” by being loved on? Including our God, the Giver of all good gifts?!
If I have developed a ‘thimble size’ ability to receive, how will this impact my ability to receive the extravagant love of God when I am embraced by Him on the other side of the time door? I will be filled and overwhelmed with His love. But would I experience it differently if I had developed a capacity of 10 gallons rather than a thimble size? I will be filled to overflowing regardless. But the experience will be different.
God has emotions that are over- the- top big! He sings and dances with joy over those He loves. He is a jealous God. He is angry with injustice and claims that vengeance is His! He stands up against those who oppress the vulnerable. He weeps with those who weep. He rejoices when truth wins out, and when lost sheep are found. He has great compassion and grief when people choose to reject His care.
If our eternal God has emotions, why won’t I? On both sides of the time door. The idea that there will only be ‘happy’ emotions, I believe, is a fairy tale based on our wishes and limited thinking. Why would my emotions stop? The eternal joy does not stop. The martyrs in heaven are agonizing as they ask God, “How long, oh Lord?” as they watch citizens of earth being tormented for their loyalty for God. If the ‘cloud of witnesses’ have emotions, why won’t I? If God has a full range of emotions regarding His loved ones and what happens on earth, then why won’t I?
I won’t be diminished, emotionally limited or become one dimensional.
I am certain that God has wanted me to grow my capacity to have intense emotions and regulate them so that I can stay relationally connected in the mix of them regardless of any situation that I encounter. I suspect that the growth I have accomplished in the here and now will benefit me on the other side. I do not know what this really means. But I do know there is some kind of eternal benefit as I heal and grow now.
I will have so much to keep on learning and developing when I enter eternity with my eternal God. And I want to keep on investing eternally in my healing, growth and development in the now.