“Dad, our Heavenly Father is not preparing a place here for you. He’s preparing YOU for a place here with Him”. – Remain true. Love you, Braden
“I won’t ever earn a place in Heaven, but my hope lies in trusting my loving Father will allow me in anyway”. – Braden’s dad
Our north Texas community is growing (as are many others) so fast it’s insane. Real estate prices have climbed through the roof as California moves to Texas. We have friends in real estate who say they have no lack of sales opportunities but the asking prices are far above the appraisal price. Banks don’t loan on anything above proven value.
Today, a prospective buyer in north Dallas arrives at the closing table with a significant amount of cash just to pay the difference between the real versus perceived value. They even have something real estate agents call “Love Letters” which are buyer’s trying to pull at the heart strings of a home owner to persuade them the sell.
What a terribly wonderful problem to have as a seller. Still if I sold tomorrow I’d have to pay twice as much to move to a similar property unless I buy a shack!
After our son, Braden took his life the morning of October, 30 in 2018, we’ve remained in family counseling. A couple of months ago, I had a conversation with one of them that stuck with me. The counselor asked me about “where I go in my mind” when I replay the day when Cathy called screaming into the phone. We talked about ways to “re-script” that horrific event in order to somehow cope with the trauma in a more healthy way. I was asked to think about our son and where he is in this very moment. What he’s doing? Where is he living? What does he look like?
The doc asked, “Do you believe you’ll ever join Braden again where he is now?” After a thoughtful pause, I finally replied, “Honestly, it’s about a 10 percent bet. Yes, I have faith he’s in Heaven. He deserves the largest and most amazing mansion along with everything he didn’t have here, but I’ve not personally earned the chance to enter Heaven much less the opportunity to live in a mansion God has prepared there. I may get in through a side door, but I’m lucky if there’s even a shack awaiting me”. It was really weird to hear that honest admission come out of my mouth.
Though I’ve secretly thought it, I’d never verbalized it. I’ve never believed my life here could earn me a ticket into Heaven. Fortunately, I have really good counselors who are strong in their Christian faith. The response to my fully honest answer was met with helpful wisdom.
“There are no shacks in Heaven. No one gets what we deserve based upon what we did or what we didn’t do here. Otherwise, Heaven would be totally empty. Even a shack in Heaven is far beyond anything the saints could have earned”
In my immaturity, I’ve always wondered, “Why would God build a mansion for me? Can’t He just blink and make that sort of thing happen?” How ignorant. The word, “Building” in this scripture means He is “Preparing”. Rather than swinging a hammer or sawing a 2X4, my Heavenly Father is spending His time right now every day, preparing ME for the place He eternally has always had prepared which is with Him.
My faith and my sustenance lie in knowing I won’t have to pay even one dime toward any mortgage for my “Heavenly mansion”. The only price for such an awesome gift is my surrender and faith in the Builder.
Prayer: Lord, help us give up our selfish will for your perfect blue printed plan. Find and watch over those who are in dark places right now, falling prey to a lie by thinking they don’t deserve to receive your promises.
In Your Son Jesus’ name, Amen.
John 14: 1-4
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”