by Peeter Lukas
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20
A child’s sense of time and distance is almost non-existent. They can’t grasp these abstractions; therefore, an almost certain impatience sets in for car trips longer than a half hour: “When are we going to get there?”
The youngest and the oldest saint alike ask that question of God. Trials and “frowning providences” squeeze that question from our hearts. And as the years of life fly by, as we acquire more joys and more sorrows, these are the occasions for preaching the gospel to ourselves.
I agree with the words of hymn writer Helen Lemmel: “…the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” What must the apostle John have seen when he experienced Rev 1:17-18?
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’”
And from that vision John wrote a book filled with glorious superlatives, at times almost too glorious for pen and paper to contain.
The destination of Heaven makes our pilgrimage more than worth it. And we know we’ll make it there because Christ died as our perfect sacrifice. He was resurrected as our Forerunner, and He now prays as our Intercessor. We’ll make it there, our Accuser notwithstanding.
A sentence from the ever-quotable C.S. Lewis has impressed me for the past few weeks. Lewis wrote that when we get to heaven, we’ll simply exclaim in God’s presence, “Oh — Oh — now I understand!” The hope of Heaven allows us to work the gospel backwards, from eternity to today. I can better understand today’s sorrows and mysteries and deprivations because a sovereign Lord enthroned in heaven is in the midst of everything. I can better enjoy the sweet comforts of life now knowing that they’re gifts from our eternal God’s hand, not the result of “lady luck” or fate or, even worse, the product of my own “talent.” Heaven is the reflexive home of our new hearts and adds its own melody to the gospel that takes us there.
Our whole lives are being molded to follow Christ and the gospel more and more, until one day we no longer have to ask the question, “When are we going to get there?” All of heaven will shout, “Welcome! You are here!” and we’ll respond with a shout of our own, “Now I understand!”