“They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.” Hebrews 11:16
C.S. Lewis wrote – “If I find in myself a desire which no experience can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. . . Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” February 16th marked two years since my daughter Karen entered that heavenly world. February 22nd would have been my husband Neil’s 86th birthday, and it was six years last December 31st since he entered that better country.
It seemed odd to me that I began reading Dan Schaeffers book “A Better Country – Preparing for Heaven” during the month of February when these emotional memories bombarded me once again. I don’t question God’s timing anymore as He has proven over and over that His timing is right on time.The pain of those losses lessen somewhat each year as I am encourage with Scripture such as Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
The Bible tells us our life is but a mist – here one minute and gone the next. Now that I am in my seventies that passage in James 4:14b becomes more real as I see more years behind me than ahead of me.
I often feel overwhelmed with the negative stories of wars, death, destruction and evil that bombard me day after day espousing that evil is good and good is evil. That I must abandon the truth and morals of God’s word for political correctness or I will be labeled as hateful or homo phobic or any other phobic going.
Then there are days the prayer requests come in at a rapid rate for those we know and those we don’t know who are suffering physically, mentally, spiritually. This leaves me so thankful that I know the One who will hear all my petitions and prayers on their and my behalf. I know that Jesus is in control even when the world around me is rapidly going down that slippery slope of compromise. This book points to this country where there will be no pain, wars, sorrow, strife, and every tear wiped from my eyes.
Peter Kreeft writes “No one can live without delight, and that is why a man, deprived of spiritual joy goes over to carnal pleasures.” For some years now I have shifted my focus from these worldly pleasures to that better country life. Not that I have become so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good, as the old saying goes. But I have found in following Jesus, my spiritual joys fully outweigh whatever it was I used to see in my old nature.
Dan brings into focus the reality of today’s thinking when he says “We think we are in the land of the living going to the land of the dying when in reality we are in the land of the dying going to the land of the living. . . I long for that part of heaven where I will be changed forever. Earthly transformation is wearying work. I find that I am weary of my sin, weary of my failures, weary of my ignorance, weary of my shortcomings, weary of my sinful nature that always chooses sin first, and only with great effort is countered by my new nature.”
But lest you think he is all doom and gloom, he brings the joy of knowing and loving Jesus to the forefront with these words – “Waking up in heaven for believers will be the greatest moment we’ve ever experienced. For the first time we will experience life the way it was meant to be experienced, with peace of mind, understanding, comprehension, excitement, joy, and wonder. How could it be any different? We will be in His presence. No longer will faith be without sight. . . We will finally really realize that our life on earth was but a drop in the oceans of eternity. We will breathe the air of paradise, and upon being taken to our home, the place we will live, we will truly begin to live happily ever after.”
When believers meet Jesus face to face, and when we get to finally embrace our loved ones once again who have passed on before us, I ask you, how could it be otherwise than perfect!
Lord, thank You for going to the cross for us. We certainly know trouble in this world, but You overcame the world and took our sin and pain for us. We look forward to the day when our sorrows will be turned into joy and we see You face to face.
When we put our cares into His hands, He puts His peace into our hearts. ODB