It is the best of times. Although, in this place here, there actually is no such thing as time – There is only timeless eternity. Everyone is so filled with life and joy that tears could continually flow from our eyes – Albeit, there are no tears here. The perfection of the sun shines so brightly that there is not a single shadow created from the luminous light. Still, there actually is no sun here. We have the luxury of having the glory of God as our sun!
I rested in one of my favorite places: it has this title because I enjoy laying beside the tigers and the deer as they peacefully play together. This place is also my favorite because sometimes I can watch my daughter play football with other people. She was my daughter back on earth, but here she is ultimately and objectively seen as God’s daughter. Nonetheless, I still pleasure in proudly watching her play (especially as the quarterback). She always wanted to play with her older brothers back on earth, but was not strong nor fast enough to keep up. Here in the Kingdom, there is a removal of the physical advantages of the sexes. We all have powerful, heavenly ageless bodies.
On the last play of the game my daughter threw a bomb pass about 200 yards into the arms of her friend Josh who made a spectacular diving touchdown catch. My favorite part of his catch was that his impact did not even harm the grass underneath him. The grass here is unlike the weak, fragile earthly grass. In this place we see the true grass that God intended for creation, before The Fall. This grass is so firm that it cannot bent nor can be pulled from the ground itself! The beauty of the heavenly grass blades is greater than the grandeur of any waterfall back on earth. Goodness, it is impossible to fairly describe the epic waterfalls here in The Kingdom.
Josh and my daughter glided toward me in merriment. “Dad, did you see that catch! Josh here gets the MVP again. Show off” She jokingly pushed Josh’s arm. The young looking man just smiled and shook off the praise.
“Hey it’s almost time for the next banquet feast,” exclaimed Josh, with a sudden jolt of excitement. “If we leave now we can make the opening story given today”
The three of us headed over to the banquet feast. At the beginning of each banquet someone tells the crowd their story of how Jesus saved them back on earth. No story is ever too small. No story ever leaves us short of satiated praise of what God freely did for us. Afterwards we feast and drink in laughter.
One of the angels signaled for today’s speaker to come in front of the podium. The speaker spoke in a strong, educated English accent:
“Hello family. My name is Henry. I was once a university professor and happily married to a woman of 15 years. Neither of us knew Christ or even gave thought to him. On weekends my neighbors began asking me to watch over their adolescent son. The son was mentally disabled and helplessly mute. For 10 years I would periodically watch him. For 10 years I would sexual abuse this child. I rarely gave time to feel guilt or shame. Neither was I ever caught in my wrong doing. Eventually I earned another teaching job and we moved away. My marriage began to disintegrate and we eventually divorced.
I was left to myself. My life grew darker. A close friend begged that I should look to the Lord, but I despised the frivolity of the religious teachings that I learned in my youth. Regardless, my life reached the point where I was sinning at such a varsity level that I thought that there was no way that God could ever love me. Therefore, I dove headfirst into my sinning further and further. Until all I saw was the mirage of Hell itself.
In my 60th year, a homeless man stopped me as I walked to the store. I begrudgingly gave him a few seconds of my time. Instead of asking me for money, he went on unexpected rant about how Jesus had recently ‘saved him’. I wanted to walk away…however, his speech was curiously robust. Normally, I relate to intellectual dexterity yet he spoke with pure visceral emotion. For the first time in my life, I had heard. I heard. That day I bought a Bible and read until my eyelids were numb. I wrestled with the Lord and finally gave my life to Christ. I was infinitely lost and Jesus’ mercy grabbed me by the waist.
I prayed that God would show me my next steps. The following Sunday I joined a church family. The very next day the doctor informed me that I was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer with only three months to live. After crying for hours, the Spirit reminded me that my life was already not my own anymore – but rather, it was in God’s all along. My burdens lifted from that simple truth and led me to live the last three months of my life for Christ. When my new church family heard my full story, praise for God erupted. There was a major revival in the city and everyone was coming to Christ! What I, in my past life, intended for harm….God used for good. I now see that my past life was a mirage. What I saw as blurry darkness, I now clearly see the beauty of God’s redemption.
♪ ♪ ♪ I will forever praise him. The rhythms of his grace are extravagant. You are God. You are Good. You are Jesus ♫ ♫”
The Professor then signaled for someone else to rise. Everyone turned to see Josh, my daughter’s MVP wide receiver, stand up.
“This is Josh,” pronounced the Professor. “He is the young boy that I molested for ten years. His suffered greatly on earth. Nevertheless, God graciously saved both his life and mine. We are eternally grateful”.
Josh, who was once mentally disabled and mute…who lived a life of deformity – was no longer bound in that inescapable box. He now lives in holy paradise. His new body was from God. He radiates God’s glory along with the rest of us. We all simultaneously rejoiced to God.
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory forever and ever!!