Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Never Say Never

You never miss what you've never had. Or do you?
Growing up I never missed having aunts, uncles, or cousins, because both my parents were only children. I never knew what I was missing.
Living the past 25 years outside the U.S. without a Starbucks close by has not been a sacrifice, because Starbucks didn’t even exist when I left, and besides, I almost never drink coffee.
Likewise I never knew of such things as memory foam and sleep number mattresses, so I’ve never missed them. We’ve never had anything larger than a full size bed, so it never feels like a sacrifice to not have a queen or king-size bed.
The things I grew up having, like automatic washing machines and clothes dryers, dishwashers, Kitchen Aid mixers, and all sorts of convenience foods at the grocery store – these I did miss.
Many years ago a pedicurist came on a short-term team, insisting that the delight of her week would be to give me a pedicure. “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news….” This was her obsession. Up until then I had never missed such luxuries, having never splurged on a pedicure in my life.
It was ticklish and embarrassing to have someone touch my grungy feet after years of wearing sandals year-round on dusty unpaved roads. I tried every way possible to postpone this “treat” – hoping she would just forget the whole thing. The last night, though, she would not be deterred, and I experienced my first pedicure.
Maybe some of you received your first (free!) pedicure at a Women of the Harvest Retreat, and you know what an amazing feeling it is to have your feet pampered. After that, I was hooked. I don’t actually pay for a pedicure very often, but I find myself wishing I could.
Thanks to the internet (Pinterest), visits to the U.S. every year or so, and talking to new missionaries and short-termers, I now know about many other things I have never experienced, and if I’m not careful I can begin to covet and crave things I have never even seen.
Then came Easter. Sunday morning I gathered with family and friends at sunrise, worshipping and remembering the Resurrection, and out of nowhere I got a blast of longing for something I have never seen except in tiny glimpses.
Do you ever find yourself feeling so homesick for your real home that it brings tears to your eyes? I’ve never seen heaven, but I sure do miss it.
My current must-read book is Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. I recommend it to each of you. It makes me strangely content with my life on earth, knowing there is much more to come. Any small sacrifices I make to serve the Lord now will be worth it in the end.
It’s always good to be reminded that this life is short, and eternity is long.
IRL* Sacrifice does not always feel rewarding, and it’s not always pleasant, but to quote an old favorite song, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”


  1. Well done Jamie Jo, I recently was on a missions trip to Oaxaco Mexico and thought about many of the very things you spoke of in your column.I also have read "Heaven" by Alcorn and he has a way of causing one to think about the things we have not yet known. I think we are in for culture shock, in a good way! God bless and keep up the great work! tom

  2. I too long for heaven...I cannot imagine what it's like, but I want it!

  3. Thanks, Tom. Jani, if you read Alcorn's book you will have a bit of an idea what heaven is like, and then you will want it even more!

  4. Amen, sister!

    I loved "Heaven" and it led me to read Alcorn's Money, Possesions and Eternity book, too. Just last week, I enjoyed a passion week with Crazy Love (Chan) that also reminded me again and again of what my priorities should be.

    I have to feed myself with the truth that eternity is real, or I start coveting EVERYTHING on earth. God has called me away from many things, in order for me to invest not in this world (and not in my fleshly passions) but in eternity. A study of I Peter with my team this year has had the same theme. When we were young, living overseas was an adventure. Now, our lives make no sense without the calling of God to a supernatural purpose. We desperately need to renew our sense of calling, and eternity!

    1. Funny you should mention Francis Chan. After finishing Heaven, I am now reading his book about hell. Keeping both in mind really helps to keep perspective and stop coveting like you mention.

      The adventure-turned-drudgery, but oh, so worth it - that's another blog post topic for sure!

  5. Sorry there's no new post today. Our editor, Cindy, just lost her mom after a massive stroke, and the funeral is tomorrow, I believe. Please keep her in prayer if you see this comment.

    Also, keep in prayer the Kurrle family, missionaries with our organization in Paraguay. They were in a car accident today, and the wife and son were killed, leaving just the husband and the newly adopted baby daughter. So tragic!

  6. Excellent comparisons and thoughts...and reminders. May we all long for that perfect place which we've never seen!


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