July 4, 2010

Our Hope of Heaven

Our Bible study class this morning was on 1 Peter 3: 13-17. The teacher, David, began asking what exactly was the hope that Peter referred to. The hope is, of course, of heaven -- of the wonderful life beyond this life, when all of our daily trials are no more. Remembering that hope, that inevitability for the Christian, makes our day-to-day suffering (and even monotony) pale as our eyes look ahead to glory.

About ten years ago, my husband and I faced a very difficult and divisive church situation which seemed to get worse by the day. In the midst of that, the Lord provided the means for us to plan a romantic getaway to a beautiful inn on Amelia Island for a few days. Even that was delayed through a reservation glitch on the part of our lodging hosts, who graciously upgraded us to an oceanfront queen jacuzzi suite. Well, the worse our trial apeared to me, the more often I walked through the house chanting, "Oceanfront queen jacuzzi suite! Oceanfront queen jacuzzi suite!" I had hope in a future event and place which offered peace and contentment.

I thought about this during this morning's discussion. At first, I thought, "What a great earthly example of what our hope in heaven should look like!" But, suddenly convicted, I thought, "Why did I think only of my hope in 'oceanfront queen jacuzzi suite' instead of looking forward to heaven?" It's so easy for me to get caught up in temporal things, and then look to temporal things for relief.

Fernando Ortega does a good job of expressing the transformation I'd like to see in my heart:

One morning when time is done
Bright heaven will be our refuge
The city of God most high


I long for that holy day
This longing, sometimes it captures my heart
And carries me far away


Beyond the sky, beyond all telling
Our Father himself will be our light
His arms will hold us, and with his hands
He'll wipe away the tears that stain our eyes


When darkness falls over me
This promise, it's like a fire inside
Burning the dark away


Beyond the sky, beyond all telling
Our Father himself will be our light
His arms will hold us, and with his hands
He'll wipe away the tears that stain our eyes

(Click to listen to this beautiful song)

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