Whatever is good on earth is just a prelude of heaven to come.
There is no bad in heaven...because there is absolutely nothing bad in our God.
Yet, earth is a shadowy precursor, a simple introduction...not the real thing...not the complete whole. Earth is merely a faint picture of what is to come. It is nothing more than bits and pieces of a puzzle, not yet put together. It’s a slightly blurry picture; a little bit faded; somewhat unclear. It’s wisps of a dream that floats in on a cloud, and out with the morning light. Yet, if I look hard enough, long enough, and diligently, I get a small glimpse of the spectacular-to-come.
When I do, I long for it with all my heart.
I’ve always had this inkling-idea of what I thought heaven would look like.
There have been moments where I think I see it...
Bright blue skies.
Wild flowers scattered about.
Sheep, horses, cattle grazing, or lying down, in sublime peace.
Gently flowing rivers.
Think Psalm 23 and you’ve got it...
Think Scotland, and you’re much closer still...
We just returned from the UK - 26 days of GONE, 4 days of travel; but, 35 speaking times! I’m so thankful for all these windows of opportunity the Lord allows us here on earth!
The first 13 days, we traveled north from London to Norfolk, to Nottingham, and on to rural Scotland, where we ministered in a prison, and in two different Teen Challenge rehab centers, and at a Teen Challenge leadership academy. The ministry was wonderful, but the scenery was other-worldly...
Truly, by the time our driver-friend stopped the car at the center near Duns, Scotland, I was speechless...breathless, even (like someone stole the air from my lungs).
When I found my voice, I commented, “In all my dreams, this is exactly what heaven looks like...”
For you, it may be the majesty of the mountains, or the rushing in and out of strong powerful ocean tides upon white sandy shores. For you, it might be the hush of a quiet library, surrounded by ALL THAT KNOWLEDGE; or a chemistry lab; or even the sight and smell of a glorious garden in full bloom... Heaven is all that, too... But, even then, it is SO. MUCH. MORE.
After all, add family and friends who have gone before us. Those who’ve found salvation and are already there, ready to greet us and show us all that awaits...
Most of all, add to the mix, Jesus...and, all of a sudden, that verse in Psalm 16 (# 11) that says, “In His presence is fullness of joy...” (OY!), it simply takes on a literal meaning. IMAGINE!
Total goodness, stunning beauty, incredible relationships, the presence of Jesus, bubbly-overflowing-uncontainable-joy..........................................
Well, it makes me wonder:
Why, then, do I struggle when people I love are possibly sick-unto-death? Why, then, do I refer to the home-going of gone-before-their-time-loved-ones as tragic? Why, then, do I want to cling to life on earth, instead of seeing each day as a step closer to all that awaits?
Gaining an eternal perspective changes so much how I think about life and death.
It gives me greater appreciation for Paul’s words:
For me to live is Christ, but to die is to my ADVANTAGE...
But we do not want you to be uniformed (ignorant, uneducated, to be mistaken), about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died... (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
These thoughts have led me to these conclusions:
1) Heaven is incredible gain...I’m to keep looking for that eternal perspective...
2) Earth is my one opportunity to serve Heaven’s purposes...I’m to continue using every opportunity to creatively love and share the gospel that others may escape the alternative...
3) For those who go before, who have “believed in Jesus, the ONE who died and rose again to bring salvation,” I will CELEBRATE with joy the blessing of being in His Presence.
4) No longer will I grieve without hope attached...
5) I will fix my eyes on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God...not on the things of earth!
🎶...and, the things of earth will go strangely dim! 🎶
All this beauty...and it will just be a dull dimness of what is to come!!!!
Join me next week, for one final thought on heaven...after which, I'm about to shift gears...