Read His Words Before Ours!
When I was a young girl, our family lived in the Philippines as missionaries for a number of years. It was an amazing adventure of sights and sounds, smells and tastes. We immersed ourselves in the strange and wonderful culture that was so different than our own. We met many incredible people who became life-long friends.
It was a life-changing experience that I will never forget.
20 years after we returned home to Australia, I had the opportunity to go back for a short visit with Dad and my husband. We planned to visit all the places that had been so impacting on me all of those years ago.
While busy preparing for our trip, remembering the place that had been so special to me, God interrupted my thoughts.
“Heaven is a real place too,
and one day you’re going to go there.”
Wow. Heaven is real.
It is a physical place with sights and sounds, smells and tastes.
For some reason, I had never really thought about Heaven this way before,
as a real destination.
I grew up in a loving Christian family.
I knew all the Bible verses about Heaven, but for some reason,
it was more of a concept to me, rather than a real, physical place.
This truth has had an enormous impact on me.
It continues to change my perspective every day.
Just like preparing for a trip to an exotic location,
Heaven is a real place that I can prepare for and look forward to.
In Psalm 23, David describes the pathway of life that God, the Good Shepherd, leads us along. This beautiful song portrays the highs and lows of life as a journey through pastures and valleys.
These places in the journey are very real for us.
We get distracted, or even overwhelmed, by the circumstances that define our lives.
We experience the pain of infertility, and the gift of children.
The exhilaration of falling in love, and the heartbreak of broken relationships.
The joy of health and strength, and the pain of chronic illness or cancer.
Our world is broken by sin and pain.
Suffering and struggle is part of each of our lives.
God never promised us a life without pain and struggle.
Jesus said in John 16:33
“You will have suffering in this world.
I have conquered the world.”
This journey that God is gently leading us through is not the final destination.
This is not where we dwell forever.
“I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17,
“For our momentary light affliction is producing for us
an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.”
Our lives may be difficult,
scarred by pain and grief,
but this is not the end!
Our lives may be comfortable and safe,
full of blessings and joy.
But don’t get complacent.
This is not the end!
Heaven is real, and it is going to be a wonderful place to dwell.
We don’t know a lot about it,
but we do know that God will be there,
and the scars of sin will not.
“God himself will be with them and will be their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
grief, crying, and pain will be no more,
because the previous things have passed away.”
Knowing where you are going in the future gives you the courage to persevere at each stage of the journey.
It is amazing what you can put up with
when you know it’s only temporary.
That’s why our family plans vacations months in advance. It is marked on the calendar, and we count down the weeks and days. We have something to look forward to, and it changes our perspective every day. It fills us with hope and expectation, and gives us strength to endure.
Paul urges us to “seek the things above, where Christ is.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Thinking about heaven, looking forward to our final destination, makes the struggles of today easier to bear.
Let’s not get distracted and overwhelmed by what we can see and feel today.
Let’s not get so wrapped up in our earthly lives that we forget about heaven.
Let’s not get discouraged by the pain and suffering that permeates our broken world.
This is not our final destination!
Heaven is a real place, and one day I’m going to go there.
I hope to see you there!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!