Better Than Mommy Snuggles

Last night my nine-year-old daughter walked into the living room carrying my four-year-old son, who was sobbing up a storm. Daughter was saying, “I am so, so sorry!”
Concerned that she had somehow injured him, I quickly inquired as to the nature of the problem.
“I was talking to him about heaven,” she explained, “and he asked if he could still snuggle with Mommy in heaven. I told him I didn’t think so…”
My heart broke for the little guy, whose chest was heaving and tears were streaming. I am quite happy about the subject of their conversation, but eternity–which leaves adults squirming in our seats–should probably be carefully introduced to young minds. My little son, trying to comprehend a foreign and unimaginable environment, could only think of the wonderful things of his current life. My daughter, attempting to explain the inexplicable, had accidentally ripped away all the comforts and anchors of his little life–but knew not how to replace them.
So last night, you’ll understand why I sobbed for a while in my bed before falling asleep. My children are attempting to understand these enormous, mysterious matters of life and death and life hereafter, grappling with reality.
I don’t think about heaven enough. It will definitely be different. Jesus said there is no marriage or giving in marriage, but we will be like the angels. We will have better, incorruptible, eternal bodies. We will be with the Lord! And we will be with all the saints who have lived throughout the ages.
Instead of thinking of all the things we won’t have in heaven, we would do better to excite ourselves with thoughts of what God is planning for us! Jesus told His disciples,

“Let your hearts not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14.1-3)

“My little son, in heaven you can have all the Mommy snuggles you want.” It’s the best way I know of explaining the infinite wonders God has planned to his fresh mind. We’re going to be living in God’s house! We may not have literal mommy snuggles, but–rest assured–whatever we have will be better than mommy snuggles 🙂

Upset with God?

Joshua 7 accounts the trouble Israel fell into because of Achan’s sin and what they ended up doing about it.

Do you remember Achan’s sin? He stole some silver, a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and a bar of gold from the city of Jericho. God had absolutely and clearly forbidden them to take anything from the city because it was all devoted to HIM, as all firstfruits should be. Achan directly disobeyed the word of God and stole those things, hiding them under his tent.

Thirty-six Israelites died in a small battle they should have easily won against Ai, all because of Achan’s sin.

Joshua was mad because God had let them lose such a small battle–what would the people of the land think when they found out about it? They would be emboldened to fight against Israel, and God’s name would not be glorified.

But God told Joshua someone had sinned, and until Joshua removed the sin from the camp, God would not be with them; they would continue to lose.

So Joshua and the Israelites discovered Achan, heard his confession, dug up the contraband, and then stoned him AND his wife AND his kids AND his animals. Then they burned them with fire and heaped a huge pile of stones over their bodies.

Yes, that’s exactly what God wanted them to do.

Here is where we hear indictments against God. Shocked individuals cry, “How could God allow such a thing?!” Perhaps they could imagine how God could hold Achan accountable for his own sin, but how could God hold it against the whole family? There is no indication that the family knew what Achan had done, and surely we wouldn’t hold little children responsible.

Before we continue thinking about God, what else might we learn from this account?

1. Sin is serious. We are apt to label our own sins as “mistakes” or “issues,” downplaying and trivializing them. How often do we honestly look at what we have done and use God’s language? I have sinned and “transgressed [God’s] covenant that [He] commanded” me (Joshua 7.11). Call it a lie. Call it stealing. Call it fornication. Call it adultery. Call it unfaithfulness. Call it pride and arrogance. Call it what it is, and recognize how serious it is.

2. Sin never hurts only me. One of Satan’s great lies is this: “It’s okay because it doesn’t really hurt anyone else.” This is total nonsense. The teenage junky uses this logic, while her parents pray and mourn and worry at home. The watcher of pornography uses this logic, while the ladies in his life suffer because of his warped way of viewing women. The drunkard uses this logic, right up until he is charged for vehicular homicide. Achan probably thought, “It won’t hurt anyone…” Thirty-six men and his whole family died as a direct result.

But back to God’s actions. Instead of sitting in judgment over God and questioning His decisions and actions, the healthy way of reading Scripture is to attempt to understand God and how we should relate to Him.

1. God knows all the details. He knew Achan’s heart. He knew what his kids would turn out to be, had they grown up. He knew the wife’s heart.

2. God has all authority, and He makes rules for us to follow. We don’t get to question His authority; neither can we disobey without consequences. Every day men and women flaunt His authority because they don’t like God’s rules, but just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not fully true!

3. God doesn’t act like you or me. Sometimes God acts much more severely than I would. But most of the time He acts much less severely! When we truly understand sin and how it attacks and spurns our Creator, we realize that He has a right to kill each and every one of us because we have all disobeyed His rules. Why does He put up with us? Why does He let us live? Once we come to grips with that, then we see His harsh judgments upon some sinners is totally justified.

Why are folks continually upset with God? Either they don’t understand His complete authority over them or they don’t agree with His assessment of their sins. People reject God because they don’t like Him.

What about you?