Most people work hard to make their life as comfortable as it can be. A comfortable place to live, a reliable food supply, a good education. But all too often, there’s a key element being overlooked.
Queen (the British rock band of the 1970’s, not the late British monarch) asked the question, “Who wants to live forever?”
There’s a few things they got right, too. One of the lines in their song says that, “This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.” That’s true. We’re only here on earth for a flicker, the briefest of moments in the overall scheme of time. The bible says that we are like grass that sprouts in the morning and toward evening it withers. But that perspective ignores an important point. Sometimes what looks like the end is not the end at all.
One of my favorite illustrations of this comes from Francis Chan who uses a very, very, VERY long rope to make his point. He is holding one end of a rope in his hand as he stands at the podium. The rope winds across the platform, down the side steps, across the front of the auditorium, through the aisles and finally down the center and out the rear doors. Here comes the amazing part of the illustration. At the end he is holding, the last couple of inches have been wrapped by some red tape. Chan begins at that end of the rope, pointing his finger at the very edge of the red tape. “Imagine that this rope is a TIMELINE of your existence. Imagine that the rope goes on forever. — THIS RED PART IS YOUR TIME ON EARTH.” He rightly observes that it’s silly to focus all of our time and attention on a very small segment of the rope and completely ignore the main portion.
People focus on the world and its desires. A great retirement account. An impressive car. A trophy spouse. But these things are destined to perish. As our verse today says, “The world and its desires pass away.”
If you spend any time hiking in hilly areas, you’ll soon find out that what you can see is naturally limited by your horizon. As you look at the trail ahead, you may be convinced that you’re coming to the peak of the mountain. But, as you crest the ridgeline you see a vast and much higher mountain ahead of you to climb. It was there all along, large and looming; but your present perspective simply obscured its view. There is a forever that’s coming, even though it is hidden by what we presently see.
I remember my first visit to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I had seen pictures of it. I knew that it was BIG. I thought I knew what to expect. But as we pulled into the parking lot after entering the park none of the canyon was visible. We parked among row after row of vehicles, and then made our way to the entry point. Coming the the top of a very small incline as I reached the end of the lot, I was instantly greeted by one of the few things I’ve ever seen that was mind-numbingly, breathtakingly amazing!!!! The actual sight of the Grand Canyon was SO MASSIVE and so UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL that I was literally stopped in my tracks. No photos I had seen had prepared me for the absolute massive size and majestic beauty of what I was actually beholding. In fact, NOTHING I could have done before I arrived at the Grand Canyon could have prepared me for what was before me.
Heaven is like that. Oh sure, you’ve probably read about heaven somewhere; perhaps even in the bible. You might have an idea of what heaven will be like. But you’re wrong, and so am I. Just like I could not POSSIBLY have been prepared for my initial exposure to the Grand Canyon, nothing we can conceive of can prepare us for how majestic and wonderful heaven will be. The bible actually says that, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor has it even entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” We can’t even begin to imagine it!! And heaven is forever!!!
Queen’s song almost reads like the close of an evangelist’s message. “Touch my tears with your lips, touch my world with your fingertips, and we can have forever.”
Jesus wants to touch your tears; He wants to be invited into your world of questions and pain. If you will invite Him in, He will come. What He touches, He heals. And when He touches your life, you will know Him and HIs promises. Let your lips proclaim His name as your Lord, believe that He was raised from the dead — and you can have FOREVER with Him.
THE WORLD AND ITS DESIRES PASS AWAY, BUT WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF GOD LIVES FOREVER.
Heaven truly is forever.
Actually, to be totally honest, so is the alternative. Choose wisely.