A friend is going through a difficult time. In fact, I have rarely known anyone who has faced circumstances that are more challenging. However, she is choosing to reframe those circumstances in the context of what good God might bring from them―and how her thoughts might fall short of what God would want to do.
The situation makes me think of this verse, “No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it―what God has arranged for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:8-10).
I don’t think those verses just apply to heaven out there, but also heaven breaking through here.
Legendary writer, Elizabeth Sherrill wrote a book entitled, All the Way to Heaven. (recently rereleased as Surprised by Grace). About the book, she writes it is “the story of how heaven, which I used to think of as an imaginary realm-in-the-sky, has become more real to me than the ground beneath my feet. Real in the past, real for the future, and best of all, real right now.”
Real right now―even in the middle of pain and feeling the earth is shaking beneath our feet.
In her book, Elizabeth quotes Henri Nouwen, who ministered to those suffering intellectual and developmental disabilities, “The cup of sorrow, inconceivable as it seems, is also the cup of joy. In the midst of the sorrows is consolation, in the midst of the darkness is light, in the midst of the despair is hope.”
Even our bleakest moments are not entirely without light. The glories of heaven pierce the shroud around us and reveal the goodness of God.
Some of you are going through those bleak times. We look at the year stretching ahead and wonder how we’ll make it. But friends, no matter what happens, God is good. Heaven is not just pie-in-the-sky but is meeting us here in all of our hurting places. God offers his consolation, light and hope to us. It is real right now.
The last words of John Wesley were, “The best of all, God is with us.” Our heavenly Father never abandons us. He promises, “. . . surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
So here’s to a new year, and the things God has prepared for those who love him.
Here’s to heaven breaking through.
Let’s watch for it.