A Taste of Heaven on Earth

That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
— Deuteronomy 11:21 (KJV)

I spent five days in heaven last month. 

Oh, wait, that wasn’t heaven. That was the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. And the thing that made it wonderful wasn’t really the conference (although it’s without a doubt a very good conference). Here’s what made those five days like “days of heaven upon the earth”:

  • Sharing with my blossoming writer daughter her first writing conference
  • Having our first multi-day mother-daughter getaway ever
  • Having deep conversations with like-minded Christian writers that I only see once a year
  • Making new friends with people who share my passion for words
  • Partnering with God to bring encouragement, provision, and timely counsel to fellow Christians
  • Admiring the natural beauty of the coastal redwoods in spring
  • Spending time alone with God
  • Soaking in the spiritual atmosphere of a place that has been steeped in prayer and God’s presence for over a century
  • Not having to clean house, do dishes, or make meals (let’s just be real)

Not Everyone Has The Same Experience — But They Could

But not everyone at the conference had the same experience that I did. Some people may have been lonely, attending for the first (or even third) time and too shy to open up to those around them. Some of them may have experienced repeated rejection and disappointment, each time hoping to be noticed by an agent, to have their story accepted by a publisher. Some may discover after critique that their book isn’t ready for publication, and feel that they’ve wasted their opportunity.

The people who find this conference a blessing year after year have some things in common:

  • They come expecting to meet with God, and keeping their eyes fixed on God as their source
  • They come with hearts of thankfulness for all God has already done in their lives
  • They come knowing they are imperfect, and so are the others at the conference, and yet they value the community of faith anyway
  • They come looking to encourage others, and willing to accept encouragement from others
  • They come willing to learn, and willing to let God direct their steps

This Could Be Us, This Sunday

I look forward to Sunday each week. It’s not because I’m perfect. It’s not because the people there are perfect. It’s not because our worship band is perfect, or our pastor’s sermons infallible (wait, Pastor, don’t take that the wrong way! Just saying that since you’re human, it’s likely… well, anyway, never mind).

I look forward to Sunday because it’s a chance to meet with God’s people, with fellow pilgrims and believers. It’s a chance to meet with God like I do at home, but with the added opportunity to minister to others or to receive a word from Him through another part of His body. I look forward to Sunday because I get to hear about what God has done for others and what He’s doing through them.

TAKING IT TO HEART: How do you approach Sundays? What makes a “good” Sunday, and what makes one “meh”? Do you come with something to give, as well as a desire to receive?

CHALLENGE: Let’s examine our expectations, and what part we can play in making this Sunday (and the next, and the next) a day of “heaven on the earth”. 

So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
— Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NLT), 21 (KJV)