“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. I Corinthians 2:9 “The man who does the will of God lives forever. I John 2:17
One of our Board Members at the PAYH just told me of a conversation he had this week with someone who was not in the least interested in living forever. The thought held absolutely no attraction for them. Gary Larson of Far Side fame used one of his cartoons to depict a similar feeling. He drew the typical image of a man with angel wings and a halo sitting on a cloud alone, bored as much as any castaway marooned on a desert island. The caption portraying his thought was, “Wish I’d brought a magazine.
Not only do many people have erroneous ideas of God, they are really just as foggy about what heaven and eternity are all about. Nor do they think of the alternative to heaven as if they had a choice to NOT live forever in one or the other. Whether or not someone is a lover of the gospel and Biblical truth, how long will they continue to hang on to the lie that they are somehow autonomous and their destiny is anything they want it to be, even annihilation (eternal nothingness)?
Randy Alcorn points out that there has been little thought and study exhibited in books on the subject of heaven, at least as evidenced by the number of pages devoted to it in theology books, or the sheer paucity of books written solely on the subject. Consequently, he wrote a BIG book on it (Heaven, 2004). But for the person who grasps anything of the beauty of God and the beauty of what He does reveal to us of eternity, what little we know or imagine is anything but boring. And certainly how can anyone know they will NOT enjoy “living forever since it is something of which they have no experiential knowledge?
Alcorn tells the story of young Florence Chadwick who in 1952 stepped into the sea from a beach on Catalina Island to swim to the California mainland. Earlier she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel . . . both ways! This morning was a foggy, chilly day and she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. 15 hours into her swim she begged to be taken into a boat alongside her. Instead her mother encouraged Florence to continue, saying she thought she could do it and did not have much further to go. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled into the boat. Once onboard she discovered the shore was less than a half mile away. Later at a news conference she said, “All I could see was the fog. . . I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.
In the “sea of life” it is not without good reason the Apostle Paul encourages us to “Set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (i.e. heaven). Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2) Likewise we read, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and completer of your faith. (Hebrews 12:2) If you do anything otherwise, there is little doubt you will remain in the fog about your future. You will eventually succumb to emotional, physical, and spiritual exhaustion, and you will never have a clear view of the shore. One thing is certain; we all need to see the shore!
“Heavenly Father, the swimming is tough. I do not know how much further it is, or how far I can go. Increase my faith to see the shore; that eternal shore on which I want to step one day.
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