Do you ever long for heaven?
When the stuff of earth makes me angry or sad or anxious, it helps to remember God has promised that this world is not all there is.
One of the old saints has said when we get to heaven, it will seem like our life on earth was just a long night in a 2nd rate hotel.
Last summer on our drive from Florida to North Carolina, we had a night like that. Broken furniture, dingy damp carpets, foul odors.
I longed to get home to my own bed.
Sometimes I long for heaven like that.
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Back in 2008 Jake and I attended a camping convention in Kenya, and afterward, we had two nights at the safari tent camp called Sarova Mara, an oasis in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve near the border of Tanzania.
Believe me, it was NOT a 2nd rate hotel and my journal records my thoughts. “How I enjoyed that place fully and deeply. It gives me ‘images’ of heaven, it really does!”
I listed these ‘images’:
1.The Glad Welcome. When we arrived at the resort, beautiful men and women met us with warm cloths to clean our faces and hands, tropical drinks, and traditional musical instruments, singing ‘Karibu! Karibu!’ (Swahili for welcome.)
We couldn’t stop smiling.
2. The Unique Accommodations. We slept in a large platform tent that was surprisingly both simple and luxurious, thick muslin walls and doors flowing in the warm breeze, a classy king-sized bed, African-artful decorations, creative tile floors, a lush shower and more.
We loved the pampering and the peace.
3. The International Restaurant. We ate our meals from a buffet of delicious foods from many different countries. Everything was labeled and I loved being able to taste a bit of this and try a little of that, and not have to decide on one entrée or one dessert.
Of course, we overindulged!
4. The Awe-filled Landscape. Vast views, far horizons, wide skies, sunrises and sunsets over the rolling hills, beautiful birds and animals everywhere.
The very air seemed to be heavy with awe and worship of The Creator.
Will heaven be something like Sarova Mara?
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As I write this, I can hear critical voices in my head, telling me I am loony. That’s a fairy tale. There’s no afterlife. The pie-in-the-sky idea about heaven is just a crutch for weak people.
But I remind those voices what happened last week.
Lying in bed in the early morning, my spirit was stressed and angry because life is hard and it’s not fair and I am sick and tired of it. I had to force myself to get up.
I went to my desk and opened the Bible. Amazement came over me as a calm seeped into my heart and I felt such joy, reading the assigned verses for that day.
Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled … I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you so you will always be with Me where I am.” (John 14, NLT)
That is what I long for, to be with Jesus: To experience His glad welcome, to sit at His banquet table, to enjoy the accommodations He has prepared, in the AWE-filled place of heaven.
Far better than Sarova Mara . . . of course.