Heaven must definitely be an awesome place. Its depiction by St.John in the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelations is really amazing. A place decorated with precious stones, surrounded by pearly gates and whose streets are of pure gold. But, I think, this is just a small imaginable glimpse of Heaven. God must be having loads of surprises when we get there. I think when it is seen in its entirety it will defy all imagination and description.
I think, in the sight of God, the six days creation of this world is just a paper cup that is crushed and thrown into the trash can. If this world, which was created to be destroyed later, could hold vast and deep mysteries which are still incomprehensible to man, how about a place which is going to last for eternity. Really wonderful… isn’t it?
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”(Rev21.4) If at all we shed tears in Heaven, I think, it will be tears of joy. It’s just joy unspeakable and full of glory.
There’s one thing that I firmly believe. The initial salvation was by grace of God and not by our works. And also we live our lives each day by the grace of God. Even so, the final salvation is going to be by the grace of God. Of course, we need to follow and obey all the commandments of God….but it’s still by the grace of God that we’ll be entering Heaven. Remember the thief who said to Jesus at the cross:”….remember me when you come into your kingdom” and Jesus replied: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”(Luke23.42,43). It’s the grace that’s going to enable us to reach our destination. Thankfully, this GRACE is NEVER-ENDING and when we all get to heaven we’ll be able to truly appreciate why this GRACE is so AMAZING.
There is a beautiful song about Heaven sung by U2. “Where The Streets Have No Name” Enjoy the Video!
There are some unanswered prayers in my life. These requests are very easy for the Lord to grant it to me. But He doesn’t do it. At times it’s really hard to understand the things He does and why He allows certain things to happen. Not everything goes according to the way that you plan. All your dreams are shattered. In situation like that it’s hard to understand where you are going. It’s frustrating. It’s a difficult to accept sudden change of events that you had never expected to happen. Doubt suddenly creeps in all that you do. There’s always a fear of failure. Pessimism raises it’s head. Faith loses its meaning. Questions like: ‘Is it worth trusting God?’ keep hitting hard at you.
If life is a race…..it’s hard to keep running. So what do I do? There’s one thing I don’t want to do….that is, to stagnate in one place. If I’m not able to run, I just want to walk slowly. Praying a little and crying a little. Getting some comfort from His words.
One special verse that keeps me going is Jer 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But accepting to tread an unknown path is not easy. Trusting becomes a difficult task. I’m reminded of what Philip Yancey states in his book ‘Reaching for the Invisible God‘: ‘to fear God or to fear everything else, to trust God or to trust nothing’
I feel it’s better to trust a little in God than to trust nothing and living in fear and depression. So let me keep trusting and walking even if the it’s the darkest night. Maybe, the dawn is just in sight.
I’m always fascinated by the word ‘plug-ins’…..whether it’s in software or other electronic equipments. Whenever an electrical or electronic equipment doesn’t work the first thing that I look into is the plugs, to check whether it’s properly connected to the power supply. The equipment might be made of latest sophisticated technology but unless it is plugged-in to the power supply it’s of no use.
Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”(John15:5).
Here Jesus is the power supply and we all need to plug-in and make a connection. Establishing a connection may be easy but sustaining or abiding or remaining in that connection is sometimes difficult. Bearing much fruit completely depends on remaining in the connection.
Sometimes I find it difficult to be plugged-in. When the road gets rough I pull the plug off from the power supply thinking that I can manage on my own. But it doesn’t work. So I run back again to get plugged-in. I can’t do anything apart from Him.
Being plugged-in always keeps us renewed and burning brightly for His glory as His grace and power flows within us. All our gifts and talents can be used for His glory only when we are plugged-in.
So, just plug-in and remain there.
The other day I was reading the book of Habakkuk. The last chapter is a prayer song sung by the prophet. The ‘Shiginoth'(v.1) refers to a song with turbulent lyrics. Surely the lyrics are turbulent especially the last few verses of the 3rd chapter:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
These verses really trouble me. Was that a good time to sing, rejoice and be joyful? How can one sing and rejoice when there’s nothing favourable and good? I also found similar situations in the Bible. The only time we read that Jesus sang was few hours before his arrest (Matt26:30). And there’s also Paul and Silas singing in a Roman jail (Acts16:25). How could these people react to a grave situation by singing?
If I were to be in such a situation, I will probably react with anger, self-pity and will be murmuring against God. Sometimes, maybe I will accept it with a sigh but the relationship with God will remain unsteady for sometime. But to sing and rejoice seems to be impractical.
But Habakkuk seems to have a completely different perspective about it. Even when the ‘Physical reality’ around him was breaking down, he was finely tuned to the ‘Spiritual reality’. He was able to look beyond the shattered reality to a God who is still in control. Hence, he is able to sing, rejoice and be joyful.
To find meaning in such a situation is to see it from a higher perspective. But such a perspective seems elusive in the midst of a storm. It’s a choice, but it’s still difficult to sing and rejoice.
I’m just praying for the grace to have more faith in God and to sing and rejoice in the midst of a storm.
When I think about the love of God, three things come to my mind and I would like to share that here.
Firstly, God loved and chose us even before the creation of the earth(Eph1:4,5). He was rejoicing and took delight in mankind while the earth was being created(Prov8:30,31). It’s not something that is easily comprehensible but, it’s wonderful that we were born into this world being loved of God.
Secondly, when man fell because of sin, God sent His only beloved Son to die on the cross for our sins because He loved us. That divine love constrained Him to come down to the earth to save mankind (I John4:10). Otherwise we would have perished in our sins. He endured the cross because of the ‘joy’ that was set before Him(Heb12:2). The love that He had for you and me gave Him meaning to suffer and die on the cross.
Thirdly, He is preparing great mansions in Heaven so that we would be able to dwell with Him eternally to enjoy and rejoice in that love for eternity.
The love of God spans from ‘former’ eternity to the ‘latter’ eternity and continues forever. It’s so huge, vast, immeasurable, undescribable, unimaginable, incomprhensible. But it’s a fact.
So, what do I infer from this? From the day I was born till the day I reach home, every day of my life is completely covered by the love of God. Therefore I need not fear because perfect love casts away fear. When I’m guilty of sin, He forgives because of his love and helps me to live better. When I fall down, He lifts me up and gives me more grace to move forward. When I feel things are not going my way, He says that He loves me and has got better plans. When I call to Him in need, He answers and provides out of His love.
His divine love does not change. It’s an eternal love. When we all get to heaven and look back on our lives….it will be the greatest love story we have ever known.