Tuesday, May 29, 2007
In Other Words
Iris has chosen a quote from Max Lucado for today's "In Other Words":
"Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven so don't expect it to be."
I always feel a sense of excitement when I know the Lord has something He wants to impress on my heart. I have been thinking a great deal about heaven these past few months. It started because of the circumstances our family finds itself in. I found myself clinging to the hope of a future in heaven where there is no more suffering or pain. Then as I began to know more women through blogging, I felt overwhelmed at times with the sorrow and sickness and brokenness and suffering that seems to be so prevelant. It hurt my heart to think of so much suffering, and I turned my eyes toward heaven.
I understand that this is all part of life. We cry out to the Lord because we want healing and deliverance from the suffering. Sometimes there are miracles. Often we must walk through the tough times as God uses them to accomplish the work He desires to do deep inside of us. We long for answers to our "whys". More often than not, there are no answers. And so I look heavenward.
I was so encouraged by an article the Lord placed in my hands. It is just like Him to continue to show me the things He wants me to understand. It is written by Sam Storms and was in our "Decision" magazine. He is talking about heaven:
"When we get to heaven there will be nothing that is abrasive, irritating, agitating or hurtful. Nothing weak, sick, broken or foolish. Nothing deformed, degenerate, depraved or disgusting. Nothing polluted, pathetic, poor or putrid. Nothing dark, dismal, dismaying or degrading. Nothing blameworthy, blemished, blasphemous or blighted. Nothing grotesque or grievous, hideous or insidious. Nothing illicity or illegal, lascivious or lustful. Nothing marred or mutilated, misaligned or misinformed, soiled or spoiled, vile or vicious (Rev. 21:4,8,27).
Wherever we turn our eyes in heaven we will behold only glory and grandeur and beauty and brightness and purity and perfection and utter, unending majesty. Why? Because we will be looking at God (Rev. 22:4). Although now we see through a "mirror dimly,' God will one day unveil Himself in breathtaking beauty and clarity for us to behold (I Cor. 13:12).
In this life it's often hard to be happy when you hurt. In heaven, with new and glorified bodies, there will be no pain, fatigue, discomfort, chronic aches or itches. No bodily obstacles will diminish our ability to see and feel and hear and touch and taste and smell the glories of paradise. On earth, physical pleasure often competes with spiritual happiness, but in heaven they are one! The physical, emotional and intellectual pleasures of heaven will infinitely exceed the most ecstatic of physical pleasures on earth.
There will be no sinful lusts to pull us down, no wicked impulses against which we must fight, no dullness of heart to hold us back, no lethargy of soul to slow us down, no lack of energy to love or absense of passion to pursue what is holy. All of our senses will be heightened and their capacity to see, touch, feel, hear and smell will no longer be hindered by disease or distraction.
Even when the present is pleasant, what we see and sense and savor in this life is an ephemeral shadow compared with the substance of God Himself. Earthly joys are fragmented beams, but God is the sun. Earthly refreshment is at best a sipping from intermittent springs - but God is the ocean."
How I long to see His face and to be in that wonderful place. He has placed us here for a very small period of time. We must not expect heaven. We can know that heaven awaits, and there will be a time when all the suffering and sorrow is a thing of the past. I want to live so that when I do see Him I will not be ashamed of the way I lived this life. I relinquish my "rights" to have heaven on earth that I may allow Him to work in my life according to His perfect plan for me. I know that sometimes that involves things I just don't want to face. For now, He has given us all we need to live victoriously here so that one day we may stand before Him and hear Him say "Well done."