There are days, some more than others, that I simply need hope! I need hope that there is something bigger and better on the other side of the chaos and pain I often feel. There are times I feel the need to park my mind and focus my attention on heaven, that place where Jesus not only promised our struggles and sufferings will finally end, but also where those struggles and sufferings are valued, weighed, and rewarded. Passages like the one below provide me with a backdrop of sorts, giving me some very pictures to help focus the eyes of my heart.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. …14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
The great hope for every child of God is that one day our time here on earth will pass, and in a blink of an eye we’ll be home, feasting together on the Tree of Life. The older I get and the more I experience what this world has to offer, the more I look forward to heaven. I would like to offer a short series of blogs (based on what I understand from the Bible) that are musings of what I imagine that great moment may be like when I step from this “reality” to the next.
It was as though I awoke from a deep sleep, out of a long dream. A slight breeze brushed across my face and hair as I arose. Deep green blush grass pressed between my fingers as I pushed myself up. I felt the warmth of what I thought was a beautiful sunshiny day. As I took in a long, deep breath, the sweet smell of flowers, green grass, and a freshness in the air like that after a summer rain filled my senses. Wow, I felt so … so … refreshed and rejuvenated. As my eyes cleared I saw … I saw such beauty as I sat in the midst of a beautifully lush garden. Behind me was a tall stone wall that was in and of itself very impressive. The beauty of this place I in which I found myself was breathtaking. The flowers and plant life, the river and waterfall … it was all so beautiful … it’s hard to find words to describe it adequately. Instinctively I reached up to push my glasses closer to my face to get a better look. My glasses weren’t there … yet my vision was crystal clear.
“WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? WHERE AM I?” Confused, yet delighted at what I was seeing and the way I was feeling, I reached for a memory that would give me a clue to where I was and how I got here.
Just beyond me was a tree. It was unlike any tree I had ever seen. It was huge and looked hundreds of years old, but its foliage was deep green and its branches were full of vitality and strength and … some type of strange fruit. “I must get a closer look,” I said to myself. Getting up to my feet and walking toward it, I noticed something quit odd. The pain in my right ankle was no longer there. I had forgotten what it was like to not have that pain shooting through my leg.
As I approached the tree its fruit was unlike any I had ever seen before, but looked so delicious I could not resist. It was like the fruit was screaming out for me to pick it and eat it. Reaching up, I plucked a fruit from the tree and buried my teeth into it.
The moment my teeth sank into the fruit, I heard an explosion of joy and laughter and my EYES WERE OPENED … AGAIN! As I turned, it was as though a great group of people appeared out of thin air.
And I saw them … people I had known from my past but who were … the thought hit me … people who had died. I whispered to myself, “I’m in …?”
“You’re home, Tim,” a man said, with a huge smile on his face. As I looked at him the realization hit me … it was him … it was my dad. My heart leaped within me. I ran to him, throwing myself into his strong arms. As we embraced, we both cried, laughed, and laughcried! From this point on I did a lot of laughcrying.
“Is it really you dad?” I asked through my tears. “Is it really you?”
“It is Tim, it is.” Looking me deeply in the eyes he said, “We’ve been waiting for you, Tim.
“You have two arms, Dad!” (My dad had been born with only one arm). He broke out in joyful laughter and said loudly “I know, I know! Now I can hug you properly!” He gave me a big bear hug and spun me around several times.
Others then joined in to greet me! There was a lot of hugging and laughcrying going on with them as well. Turning I said “Dad, am I …?”
“Yes, you’re home,” he said with a big grin on his face. With that statement, there was another explosion of joy from everyone. It was then Dad paused, and with a huge smile he gently turned my face … and I saw her …
“Mom!!!” I cried out. She rushed toward me and once again I was embraced. “You’re home, you’re home, you’re home!” she exclaimed. I felt warmth, joy, and love like I have never felt it before. We all stood for what seemed like hours, repeatedly embracing and kissing each other on the cheek while laughcrying. I was bathing in warm embrace after warm embrace of relatives and good friends who had died before me, along with their newfound friends. We leaped and danced like children. The spirit there was so genuine, so warm, so real, so joyful. I had never felt so loved, accepted, cared for, and deeply known.
That is until I saw him.