A Guest Post by Mrs. Lisa Price
I first met Lisa Price in 2016. She is the music director at First Baptist Church in Sweeny, Texas. She is also the wife of John who is the pastor at First Baptist. We weren’t just colleagues, we were also neighbors. When I moved to Sweeny, there were about 3 lots, one with a house on it between John and Lisa’s house and the Methodist parsonage.
From the First Baptist Church Sweeny website, “Lisa has been on staff at First Baptist Church since 1989. She is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Lisa has also worked as a school choir director in the past and has a great passion for music. Some of Lisa’s hobbies include reading, watching Jeopardy and other game shows, and playing with the grand kids.”
Lisa is an outstanding musician. I even got her to help me out with a piece of music or two. I was thrilled when she agreed to do a guest post on my blog.
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17, Holman Standard Bible)
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43, Holman Standard Bible)
“That’s the price you pay to live in paradise.” The proprietor of a rental car business in Cozumel, Mexico, was anxious to tell his story. In order to better enjoy all that the beautiful beaches had to offer, we had stopped in to get a vehicle for our vacation. There was business to attend to, but the manager had other things on his mind. We began by sharing his woes about the month-long lack of tourists to the island due to the swine flu scare. He explained that because the cruise ships were on “drive-by” and flights from America were scarce, the locals were really hurting for income. The tourist-driven economy was floundering and families were getting desperate.
As the conversation continued, our new friend, “Panda,” began to think back to an even worse time in the island’s history. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma, the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, decimated the area.
Panda described his terror as he tried to keep his family safe. As the head of a household which included his wife, two young children, and his mother (who had recently had surgery), he felt the tremendous weight of his responsibility. Wading in waist-deep water inside his home, Panda kept his family members atop tables and other furniture during three long days of torrential rains and Category 5 winds.
With the windows and doors boarded shut, they must have felt like Noah and his family, not knowing or seeing what exactly was happening. He and his wife quietly worried that they had only about one day’s worth of drinking water left and very little food.
With tears starting to form in his eyes at the memory, Panda described to us how fervently he prayed as the winds and rain pounded their house and the water continued to rise. As he went on, he shared how the Lord answered his prayers, and his family emerged from the storm unharmed.
We commented on how resilient the islanders were as they weathered the storms, both physical and economic, but kept right on working hard to make a good life. Having regained his composure, Panda shrugged and said, “That’s the price you pay to live in paradise.”
That one short sentence was stamped on my memory as if it were embossed. I considered Panda’s use of the word paradise. Surely, if there were a contest for places that meet the criteria of an earthly paradise, Cozumel would be in the running. The sugar-white beaches, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees make a delightful place to visit. But as our friend had reminded us, those who live there are still subject to the many cares and woes of this world.
We who know Christ will live in heaven for eternity: no more sickness, no more tears, no more money worries, and no more flood waters threatening to overcome. Just as Panda protected his family by putting them on a higher place, our Savior has provided a higher plane for us. He paid the ultimate price by giving His life for us, and we can live with Him forever. Now that’s Paradise!