I wrote this before I went on holiday and – if you know what happened to us – it seems kind of funny. But reading it, it remains true despite the fact we ended up unable to go.
As I write this, we are just gearing up to go abroad on holiday. You are reading it some time later. But at the forefront of my mind right now is all the bumpf we have to get together.
There is, of course, the passports. Need to make sure we have those. Then there are the packing restrictions. Must make sure everything fits into the right size case. It used to be that was all, but there are now the additional covid things to worry about. Whilst Britain has got rid, other places still have some things in place. We need boarding passes – no desk check in with our airline. We are going to hire a car when we get there. Load of paperwork for that. We had planned to stay with family, and grab a lift, so chose to fly from a particular airport. They have since moved home to another area altogether, so we need to sort out somewhere to park our car and a hotel for a night when we get back. It’s not an issue of itself, but that all comes with extra paperwork too.
I’m sure there are some things that I’m missing, but there just seem to be loads of things to get sorted. Paperwork for this, documents for that, making sure we get our timings right for the other. We are the kinds of people who like to get our ducks in a row. We want everything organised and sorted. But it can create a degree of faffing from some quarters (let the reader understand) and, with the faffing, a slightly strident stressyness that is rarely much fun. It all calms down once we’re rolling.
We all look forward to our holidays. But the faff with which they come can sometimes marr the anticipation. We just want to go, to be there, to enjoy it. But before we get there, there is the hassle of document gathering, packing, getting to the right place at the right time. It is all necessary stuff but it isn’t any part of what any of us look forward to. At least, if that is the bit you most enjoy, you might be cracked in the head. Those who say ‘getting there is half the fun’ must really like packing, gathering documents and long journeys with lots of strangers.
I don’t want to trivialise glory and suggest Heaven is essentially like an extended holiday. I don’t think it will be exactly like that. I certainly don’t think the New Creation will be that. But I do think there is something in the analogy between our anticipation of the good thing and the ongoing faff and hassle we necessarily must endure until we get there.
The Lord could zap us all to Heaven the moment we are saved. Would be nice, wouldn’t it! But he doesn’t do that. He leaves us here, in the broken world from which we were saved, to grow us to maturity in him. Whilst we wait to be with him, we are given tasks to do, works that glorify him, mission to win the nations for him and through which we are to grow. And it can be hard, difficult, irritating, annoying and altogether not what we are hoping for in itself.
Just like waiting for our holiday, there are all sorts of things that we have to do if we are to go. There is no point turning up to the airport unprepared. And truth be told, that stuff is irritating and annoying but nevertheless necessary if we are to enjoy the holiday that we really want. Likewise, the stuff we are called to do now can be difficult. It can be costly. But it is nevertheless necessary for our growth, for the sake of Christ’s kingdom, and without it we will not enjoy the eternity with Christ for which we were made.