A little girl named Julie got $1 for her birthday. She went to the dollar store and picked out the prettiest string of beads her money could buy. She was so proud of those beads that she wore them with every outfit. She wore them day and night. She even wore them in the bath tub, because she did not want to take a chance of losing them by taking them off.
One day, Julie’s father came to her, and he had something behind his back. She asked him what he had, and he told her he would give it to her if she gave him her beads. Julie was distressed. She really loved those beads. “No, Daddy,” she said, “I’ll give you anything else, but I can’t give you my beads.” He walked away, not showing her what he had.
This went on for days. Every evening, Julie’s daddy would approach her, hands behind his back, and ask for her beads. Every night, Julie would refuse. She begged and pleaded and asked if there was anything else she could give him. She just could not part with those beads.
Finally, one night, Julie’s father found her sitting on her bed, crying. He asked her what was wrong. She held her beads in her hand, and she gave the string to him as she told him, “Daddy, you know I love these beads, but I love you more. If you want them that badly, there must be a good reason, so you can have them.” Julie’s father smiled as he took the beads. He pulled a blue velvet box out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Julie. Inside, she found a string of beautiful real pearls. He told her, “I saw how much you loved your plastic beads, and I thought you would love these even more.”
We are just like Julie. We hold on to things God has asked us to give up. What we don’t realize is, He has so much more planned for us. We make plans and try to keep them, even when it becomes apparent God has something else in store for us. Just like Julie, we think we know what is best.
This may sound like a random story for me to tell, but it popped into my head at church this morning. As I sat, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I realized, I am Julie.
To explain what I mean by this, I must first confess something to you, and if you did not already think I was weird, you certainly will when I finish telling you what I’m about to say.
For years now, I have had a fear of heaven.
Okay. I said it. It’s out there. I know. It’s crazy. I’m scared to go to heaven. If you think I’m crazy now, wait until I tell you the reason.
I am afraid to go to heaven, because I’ve been told I won’t be married there. Matthew 22:29-33 says: “Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not the God of the dead but of the living." When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.”
So, here’s the thing. I am not complete without my husband. I know that sounds silly and cliché, but it’s true. My heart has belonged to this man since I was 15 years old. It’s more than half my life I’ve spend with him. I have kissed no other boy. I have loved no other man. Mr. Everything is my other half, and he is my better half. He absolutely completes me, and I would not be who I am or what I am without him by my side.
How can I possibly be happy in heaven if I am incomplete? I know, I know. I will be complete through Christ. In my head, I know that. In my head, I know God will take care of all this silliness, and I have nothing to worry about.
My heart feels differently.
I won’t even discuss the fact that I won’t be a mother in heaven. I can’t even go there. I’ll be a soppy mess of tears.
So, back to my original statement. I realized today in church that I am Julie. I am holding on to what I think is best for me. This life is beautiful to me, and it’s perfect for me. However, I can’t possibly know what God has in his blue velvet box. The only way I can see my true pearls is to hand over my dollar store beads to him.
Little by little, I’m getting there.
I trust Him.
I often echo the words of the boy’s father from Mark 9:24: “I believe; help my unbelief!”
If you ever see me crying in church and heaven is being discussed, you can know, without a shadow of a doubt, I am struggling to hand over my beads.
I’ll get there one day.
What are you holding on to? Won’t heaven be worth your beads too?
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3 -Al