sarah ben

On February 28th life as I’ve known it changed. That was the day that I agreed to marry Ben Pape. It’s only been a month, but I feel like my feet aren’t quite on the ground yet.

Let it be known that I am entirely inept at 3 things:

planning, decisions, and details.

Ironically enough, until the actual day of our wedding, I get to… develop…these areas of weakness.

So far, we’ve booked a wedding date, city, and ceremony and reception venues. Photographer, DJ, Save the Dates, and invitations have (for the most part) all been sorted out. I have swum through the deep oceans of white taffeta and raw silk to find a wedding dress. I have even acquired the intricate knowledge of the subtle—yet drastic– differences between off- white, shell, pearl, ivory, linen, stone, and white; this is a skill set I never asked for. Ben and I even have a website with a ‘days till the wedding’ countdown. It’s 114, in case you were wondering.

These are but a few of the millions of things we’ve done and will do in preparation for our wedding day.

While it feels entirely a bit overwhelming, and my eyes are crossing from editing online registries, I have never looked forward to anything this much in my life. The wedding will mark the first page of a new chapter in my story. And I cannot wait to start a life with Ben Pape.

I wasn’t kidding when I said I have never looked forward to anything like this in my life. In fact, what I am finding is that I do not anticipate the return of Christ in the same way that I anticipate marrying Ben Pape. Is that too real? I mean, It’s true. I don’t give thought to being ready for Christ’s return—making myself ready—like I am anticipating and preparing myself for Ben.

I don’t like this about myself. When I think about it conceptually I am looking forward to Christ’s return. It’s not that I don’t look forward to it at all; I guess it just looks different? How can I explain a greater anticipation for the things of this world than for the things of Heaven? There’s not really a pretty way to slice it.

This passage has stood out as I’ve begun thinking and praying through this:

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,  waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own  stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:11-14, 17-18)

This strikes me oddly because it says that I ought to be waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God. And I know I should be. And I am, right? I mean, I know this is what I am ultimately longing for. I get it. I am about it.

But to be honest, I don’t feel like I’m waiting. I don’t feel the giddy anticipation that is associated with the word ‘wait’. Those feelings come naturally when I think about my wedding day; it requires intentional mental focus to elicit those feelings when I think about Christ’s return. I’m finding that I don’t dream about Christ’s return the way I dream about having kids someday. I don’t look forward to his return the way I look forward to pumpkin spice lattes being in season. I don’t pray for it to come quickly with moans and cries for mercy the way I plead and beg for the last day of school to hasten. In fact, I don’t really think about his coming back regularly, much less on a daily basis. These are my confessions.

What is the deal? I feel like something is wrong with me—shouldn’t I want this more than anything else in the world? Isn’t that the eternal hope of being a Christian? Why can I not get it together and starting anticipating return of Jesus already?

My best guess is that this heart condition is a result of having plenty of other things to preoccupy my attention that are both tangible and immediate. I am an addict of the tangible and the immediate. Therefore, I find it difficult to look forward to something, with eager anticipation, that I cannot fathom and have never seen. I don’t know if I can say in all honesty, “Lord, come back before I get married” or “Come back before I have kids” Maybe come back before those kids go to middle school, but not quite before I have them. I know I should say it. I want to be able to say it. But I know I would be hoping somewhere in my heart that I would get to do/be/experience ____________ before he comes back.

I don’t like this about myself. In fact, I hate it. It suggests—or rather, reflects—that my heart treasures things of this world more than it treasures Christ’s return or his glorification. It’s not that I don’t desire it, I’m just realizing that I desire other things– that I can see coming and I can feel, and taste, and touch– more. Am I alone here?

I don’t have a cure for this. I don’t have an action plan, or a process on how to fix this. I don’t think it the cure looks like me talking myself out of being excited about my wedding in attempt to exalt his return, either. His return is of stand-alone excitement; I should, in theory, be able to be thrilled about both, while overlooking the immediate for the greater hope of the eternal.

So I am praying this over myself—that it would become true of my desires, and that the Lord would refresh my heart and my affections for him in such a way that I genuinely would long for his return. I invite anyone willing to pray it with me:

“Lord haste the day that my faith shall be made sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll.

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.”

Here’s to laughin’


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