I have trouble enjoying nice. Weird right?
I grew up in a home where we were not poor, but we were the next-door neighbors. So, I trained myself to lower my expectations of life. I never anticipated having stylish clothes, or a new bike, or to feast on a steak dinner, or to enjoy a family vacation in the mountains. It just wasn’t in the budget.
Even as an adult I have seldom allowed myself to enjoy the best. I have never owned a brand new car. My wife has cut my hair for the last 46 years (at least once a year whether I need it or not) She and I shop at thrift stores for furniture, clothing and lots more. Vacations have usually had a camping component – cause tents are cheaper than hotels.
But, recently I was invited to buy a house that was way out of my league, but still within my frugal budget. It is a really, really nice house – nicer than any we have ever owned. It would have been foolish to pass on it.
We have enjoyed it for sure – but I sometimes find myself torn, “This is too much. It’s too nice for me. I don’t deserve this!”
I know, I probably need counseling, but that’s just the way I have learned to process life.
One day, as I wrestled with my guilt, the Lord dropped a thought. “Jim one day you will be experiencing much more than nice.”
I began to process what I knew about heaven.
Paul wrote, “But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
Paul also spoke of being transported to heaven either in his body or by vision. He said that “he was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak.” – 2 Corinthians 12:3-4
I thought through the book of Revelation, chapters 21 and 22, where heaven is described by using the extreme best in terms of human comforts and experiences. For instance, in heaven, there is nothing to make you sad – sweet and pleasant all the time. It’s a place of utterly perfect health and life without end.
The spaciousness of my current house boggles my mind and yet heaven is described as being vast – and it’s a great neighborhood too. No bad guys there.
The materials we deem precious here – they abound in heaven. Things like jasper; sapphire; emeralds; pearls, gold and tons more. The water is pure and crystal clear and there is a fruit tree that bears 12 varieties of fruit all year long. Eden version 2.0.
It’s a place where the residents have perfect and unbroken peace with God and one another. There is also round-the-clock live music and feast-worthy food in heaven. (Revelation 19:9)
Now, if I should enter heaven with my current menial mentality, I may move into the shed instead of the mansion that Jesus has prepared for me. I might look for the alley to trod behind the streets of gold. I may even pass up the marriage feast of the Lamb and Google the nearest McDonalds. By habit, I would probably choose to live more like an impoverished outcast rather than a welcome guest.
So, God why did you give me this nice house this side of heaven? Maybe to stretch my thinking that I might be able to enjoy the wonderful things ahead. Nice for eternity.
The Lord is so good to us! We haven’t done anything to deserve it. His kindness certainly hasn’t been earned – but it is ours to enjoy because of God’s lavish mercy and grace.
So, enjoy your blessings here today, and let them prime you for the amazing things that lie ahead!
A PRAYER: Oh God stretch our minds so that we might truly appreciate what you have for us in the future.
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Scriptures references are from the NETBible.com