Is The Trip Worth It?We have traveled all over the world and have slept in more hotel and motel rooms, endured more airline flights, and tried to understand more foreign language menus than we care to count. Resorts with year-round swimming pools, and villas with oceanfront views hold some appeal, but not so much as being at home sitting on the front porch on a spring, summer, or fall evening as the sun is setting, and listen to the katydids and the night noises as they begin; or to sit in an easy chair before a crackling fire in the wintertime.
When we are young and restless to be free, home is the place from which we long to escape. But if there is still a home intact when trouble arises and life becomes a battlefield; home is the place to which we yearn to return. Solomon, who was called the Teacher in Ecclesiastes, expressed this human tendency. He said, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, `I find no pleasure in them - before the sun and the light and the moon and stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain..." (Ecclesiastes 12:1-2).
Solomon tells us when we are stooped with age, when our teeth are gone, when our eyesight and hearing begin to fail, then "man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets" (Ecclesiastes 12-5).
Our temporary homes may be palaces or hovels, but our eternal heavenly home will be bright and beautiful. How could it be any other way? The great Architect and Builder of the universe designed a permanent dwelling place for His children. Earth has its beauty, but man has spoiled so much of it. In heaven there will be no need for environmentalists to work for better air and water quality, or to decry the destruction of our land for housing developments.
When heaven was revealed to the Apostle John, he found difficulty describing it, so he used the analogy of a bride, beautifully dressed for her bridegroom. What an apt description. Most parents who have daughters who are married think that they are never so radiant and beautiful as on their wedding days!
With family and friends all over the world, visits are difficult to plan. Yet we love being together and hate it when we must part. We have dear friends with whom we enjoy talking for hours. Then we look at the clock, run to keep appointments, and sometimes don't see each other again for years.
In heaven there will be no more sorrowful separations. For many people life on earth has lost its meaning because a dear one or close friends who were a vital part of life on earth are no longer here. In heaven we will be together in Christ. We will see the mother or father, the children, brothers, and sisters who have preceded us. We will have a family reunion like no other!
Even when we allow our imaginations to run wild on the joys of heaven, we find that our minds are incapable of conceiving what it will really be like. We are imprisoned by our earthly limitations. Years ago, Rebecca Ruter Springer wrote a little book called My Dream of Heaven. One person said she was given a copy of that book after the death of a loved one and it consoled her by describing the glories of heaven in such a beautiful way that she could appreciate and even anticipate what wonders her loved one was enjoying. The book, in its quaint early nineteenth-century style, was fanciful, but it captured biblical truths with emotional impressions. We wonder, for instance, about some of the things we love on earth. Will we be separated from them in heaven? What about our favorite pets? Is there a place for them? We don't know the exact answers to those questions, but we trust the love of our Lord. Everything needed for our happiness will be there.
In describing her journey intra muros, within the gates, Mrs. Springer wrote, "Do you know I think one of the sweetest proofs we have of the Father's loving care for us is, that we so often find in this life the things which gave us great happiness below. The more unexpected this is, the greater joy it brings. One minister told of seeing a beautiful little girl enter heaven, the very first to come of a large and affectionate family. Afterward, he learned that the sorrowful cry of her mother was, 'Oh, if only we had someone there to meet her, to care for her!' She came, lovingly nestled in the Master's own arms, and a little later, as he sat still caressing and talking to her, a remarkably fine Angora kitten, of which the child had been very fond, and which had sickened and died some weeks before, to her great sorrow, came running across the grass and sprang directly in her arms, where it lay contentedly. Such a glad cry as she recognized her little favorite, such hugging and kissing as that kitten received, made joy even in heaven!" Far-fetched? Why should it be? If to die is to gain, as Paul said, then why shouldn't we enjoy even more in heaven the things we loved on earth?
It is often asked, "Will we be married in heaven?" The Sadducees of Jesus' time questioned Him about a woman who had seven husbands. They asked, "At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (Mark 12:23-25).
Someone may object, "But I love my husband (or wife) so much. If we know our loved ones in heaven, why aren't we married?" Also, there are instances in which a person has had more than one marriage, as did the woman to whom the Sadducees referred. The more we meditate on the promises of heaven, the more we have faith that these questions will no longer be relevant, because they will be answered in a glorious manner. We trust Jesus with all of our tomorrows, knowing that He will solve the mystery of life beyond the grave.
Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...
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“Enter his gates with
thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him
and praise his name.