Shawna’s Stickers

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…I am hard pressed…My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample case to glory in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 1

Shawna had a difficult decision to make and so do we. Shawna is the smartest, cutest, and liveliest two year old girl in the universe. Yep, she’s my granddaughter.

   Just the other night, she was unloading a suitcase used for storing children’s books and toys. She shares it with her sister, who is four years old. Big sister was out of the room, so Shawna had the suitcase all to herself. Younger sisters don’t get to experience heaven on earth very often.

   As I watched her delight unfold, suddenly everything in her world stopped. She had discovered a set of stickers. I wish there had been stickers when I was a kid. Stickers are paper candy. Shawna’s eyes revealed her dilemma: “What do I put stickers on first?”

   At just the most strategic moment to ruin everything Popi (that’s me) piped in to say we aren’t going to put the stickers on stuff tonight. That was a copout so her mother or father could supervise the rapid destruction of priceless books and perfectly lovely toys.

   It’s what happened next that proved we are all torn between two worlds. In an act far beyond a typical two year old, Shawna held up the stickers, looked at them, then looked at me, and finally looked back at the stickers before she put them down.

   The Apostle Paul states our dilemma in Philippians 1 (above). Here is my paraphrase:

Life on earth can be fine, with many wonderful gifts and relationships. The unbelievably stunning sunrises, mountains, colors, sounds, ice cream, and granddaughter kisses give me a very thankful heart, too. Yet, all of this is temporary and no substitute for living in the presence of Christ forever. I can’t decide some days between this world and the one waiting for me. So, as I’ve heard said before, I am “ready to go but willing to stay” knowing I have the privilege to serve others so they, too, will seek to glorify Christ.    

   A new year presents us with a ripe opportunity to consider the options, decide, and focus. The better option, as Scripture states, is to be with Christ—right now, where He is, with Him, face to face, not on earth even with its beauty and majesty. But staying for a while to do God’s work is blessed, too.

   Shawna looked back and forth for a minute, made the hard choice, and made her grandfather very happy. Why is it so hard for us sometimes?

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