Yesterday, just before I left for the Chinese meeting, I looked out my window and was surprised to see the ground looking, well damp! Just to be safe I brought along my umbrella and headed out. Just as I got outside the downpour began.
Do you have any idea how rare it is to have a warm day in Israel with pouring rain? It was amazing… and the sound of rain pounding on my umbrella… well I did something that only modern technology allows—a real-time Facebook video of the falling rain. I laughed, and could only thank God for His renewed mercy in sending the rain. Joy filled me to overflowing… it was just rain…
Later, during the Chinese meeting, I was sharing from Second Peter chapter 3. We are finishing up the book, and were considering just why being with God is so wonderful. Let’s face it, some of the paintings I’ve seen are a little overdone… lots of white clouds, angels, and thrones. But an eternity of such seems well, rather boring!
There, I said it. The truth is, how are we supposed to hope for heaven when we’ve never seen it before? How can we get excited about something so beyond our current reality that for some, it can even seem frightening—good—but incomprehensible; and our need to understand can lead us down a rabbit hole of fear. How to anticipate the wonder and glory of eternity with Jesus?
I remembered my joy in this first rain, and I shared, “Think of the most amazing, most beautiful thing you ever saw in your life. Perhaps it was a newborn baby, or a sky overflowing with color, or the awe of the beauty of a forest, wonder at the extravagant decoration on birds and bugs, picture it, think of that moment. Consider how it made you feel. Now, consider the moment you had to turn away and move on. The moment was over. You remember it, but you can’t get it back. It is forever past. Well heaven is just like that with one big difference. As that moment ends and you turn to move on, you are amazed by something even more wonderful than what you have just experienced. Now picture that for eternity, each moment gets better and better.”
I wish you could have seen the looks on everyone’s faces… I had the privilege of seeing looks of wonder and joy cross the faces of old, young, believers, and yes, even a unbeliever whose face had a look of puzzled happiness.
I realized anew, we don’t think enough about what it waiting for us. The best really is yet to come.
As if I needed confirmation of that, today, during Breaking of Bread, one of the brothers shared an equally a profound thought. He reminded us of how the news loves to look at the heights to which famous people have gotten, and then ask, can they go higher, or will their work and success now decline, as everything must in the end. The brother reminded us, for believers it is the exact opposite—we expect and hope only for greater success and improvement because at the end of the road it is not a finish of old age and decay, but rather of a new door opening as we enter into a new and heavenly home where righteousness dwells.
I couldn’t stop the tears as it became my turn to contemplate how very much I have to be thankful for. The best really is yet to come.
Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found at peace with Him without spot or blemish. … But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:14, 18 HCSB