Friday, April 11, 2008

The Numbers of Hope

Last night we were privileged to attend a gathering for Thomas Nelson, the Christian publisher where Scott works and also my primary client as a freelance writer/editor. The event at the beautiful symphony center in Nashville was produced by Chris Tomlin (of "How Great Is Our God" fame) and it centered around Max Lucado's latest book, 3:16. I can't imagine anyone who might read my blog wouldn't know what this is, but just in case, let me explain. John 3:16 is probably the most famous verse in the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

I was excited to attend not just because I like Max, but because there were four stellar musical guests included: Sandi Patty, Jaci Velasquez, Travis Cottrell, and Heather Headley. The first two are established recording artists in the Christian music world, and they're both great singers. But I was most excited about the other two.

Heather Headley is a Tony-winning actress/singer who is probably most famous for her role as Nala in The Lion King on Broadway. She was nothing short of incredible.

My favorite, Travis Cotrell, is an artist/songwriter/arranger. Our church praise team has frequently sung his arrangments for Christmas, Easter, and just normal Sunday mornings. Years ago, when I attended Two Rivers Baptist Church briefly, Travis was one of the worship leaders. I think maybe I kept going to that church long after I realized it wasn't for me, mostly just to hear him sing.

Two things most impressed me last night. First, as we were all singing along with Travis to two of my favorite worship songs ("Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone" and "In Christ Alone"--the Stuart Townend version, not the one made famous by Michael English), I realized how much I was enjoying this corporate worship experience. I knew all the songs, the musicians and vocalists were incredible, and it just felt good and right. I was struck by the image that this must be just a tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like. I've always struggled with thoughts such as, "What are we going to do for eternity?" Now I know that's not a very spiritual way of thinking, but I'm someone who doesn't handle boredom well. But I think maybe I'm just starting to get it. Now I understand when a pastor or worship leader tells me we're here on this earth to learn to praise and worship Him.
The second thing I'm taking away from last night are some comforting words from Max. He was, surprisingly, talking about Hell: "Hell is not a place for those who seek God and struggle; it's a place for those who deny Him and succeed." Why do I find this so comforting? Because I struggle with something I call "eternal insecurity." Do I intellectually know that I've given my life to the Lord and made a decision to follow Him, and that this ensures my eternal home in heaven? Absolutely. But this doesn't keep me from playing the "what if" game: What if I doubt? What if I question? What if I have unconfessed, burried sin in my life? But it's assuring to know that the struggle doesn't change my position with the Father and my place in His home.

1 comment:

Chelsia said...

You write very well.