“There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar; for the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there.
“We shall sing on that beautiful shore the melodious songs of the blest; and our spirits shall sorrow no more, not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
“To our bountiful Father above we will offer our tribute of praise, for the glorious gift of His love and the blessings that hallow our days.
“In the sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore…”
(Sanford F. Bennett, 19th century)
I’m sure that most, if not all of our readers, have heard the story of the pastor who was visiting the elderly and ill lady prior to her passing. She told the pastor, “When you bury me, please bury me with a fork in my right hand.”
The pastor, somewhat surprised, asked “Why?” and she responded, “Whenever you go to a nice dinner or a church potluck, when it’s time to take up the plates, they always tell you to keep your fork for dessert, the best part of the meal. I want people to remember that for me, the best is yet to come.”
We have a deacon in our church closes with that same reminder: for the child of God, the best is yet to come.
Most of the people I talk with will agree that there is a darkness encompassing our nation; to me it’s a Satanic oppression unlike anything I’ve seen in my 68 years.
I would like to believe that most of our people are still moral, God-fearing, Bible-believing and good people, but whenever I see the news or read a newspaper I wonder. Hate is strong; division is on-going because people are self-centered and don’t want to get along.
Little boys are shot to death in front of their homes. Parents kill children and children kill parents. To try to cure society, society goes rampant, burning and looting with unbridled violence. And every day abortions continue.
Greed, materialism and selfishness mark far too many of our elected leaders and judges, who instead of being statesmen as our forefathers envisioned, have become a special-class who see their wealth and power come, not from serving their constituents or following our founding documents but from bitter rhetoric and self-serving.
And the natural world seems to be turning on us, with the pandemic and other physical/medical maladies, storms and fires. And as I read my Bible, it’s going to get worse as time goes by.
The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “Know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…” (II Timothy 3:1)
I would never presume to be a Bible prophecy time setter, but I do know that we are in much more latter days than when Paul wrote it. And I have great Christian friends who understand prophecy and coming events differently than I do … God knows what He’s doing and His will is going to happen.
And that means that for the true Christian, there is a better day coming … we’ll get to use our forks, forever.
I used to hear “Some people are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.” But I think if we’re really heavenly minded, we’ll be working ever harder to share the Gospel and the hope of Jesus Christ, the only hope of this world, to as many as we can.
As a teen, we used to sing a little chorus: “Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with Glory and Grace; I wanna see my Savior’s face, heaven is a wonderful place.” And it is. God gave the Apostle John a glimpse of heaven and he shared streets of gold, pearly gates and more. I don’t know if that’s the literal building materials or just the best that John’s finite mind could imagine.
And Jesus told us that He’s preparing a place for us. Some people envision large mansions, but I think we’ll be content with a one-room cottage with a bed and microwave there. And what will we do?
For the first time, we’ll see Jesus and be able to actually worship and praise Him, unhindered by this world’s baggage, and we can do it forever. We’ll sing and rejoice; we’ll fellowship and we’ll serve.
I have a list in my mind of things to see and do, after the first million years of praising the Savior. I want to ask my mom and dad what they knew about earth and our life after the Lord took them home. I have so many people who have influenced my life that I neglected to thank too, and I want to spend time with them.
As a people-watcher, I want to see the joy of others as they see relatives and friends who went on before. And can you imagine the joy on the face of a mother who lost a child to miscarriage or still-birth holding that child for the first time.
I don’t know how we’ll look. My sanctified imagination thinks we’ll look somewhat like we do now, without glasses, false teeth, wigs, hearing aids or prosthetics. But our new bodies that Christ glorifies to go with our everlasting souls and spirits we got at conception will be, according to Scripture, like His.
I want to talk with the Bible heroes too. I want Jonah to share the ambiance of the belly of the big fish. I want to ask Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego if they had s’mores in the fiery furnace and ask Daniel how it felt to have a real lion to snuggle up with.
I want to ask Moses if he was afraid the Red Sea might close before they all got through and see David’s thoughts on standing before a fully armed giant with only a sling and three stones. And I want to ask the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch to feed the 5,000 how it felt to see that miracle?
But as I see today’s world and the glories of heaven, my most striking thought is the total absence of sin and evil. Satan and all of those who chose to follow him are banished to eternal hell. Our habitat, and I’m still working on the juxtaposition of heaven, the new Jerusalem, new earth will be perfect.
Your morning newspaper will have no bad news, no obituaries, only good things, plus the crossword puzzle and comics. The Weather Channel and Fox News will have nothing bad to report. Apostle John writes: “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and there shall be no more pain…” (Revelation 21:4)
Our world looks bleak now. Daily I pray for spiritual revival, another awakening but I’m afraid we may have passed the tipping point.
But keep your fork; the best is yet to come … for the born-again child of God. For me and for all believers, our hardest day on this earth will be the hardest we’ll ever face. But for the unbeliever, those who still turn their backs on God’s grace and mercy, your hardest day on earth will be a vacation as it relates to eternity in a literal lake of fire.
But today is still a day of grace. God is still saving sinners. My prayer is that, as you see yourself today, you’ll ask yourself, am I ready for eternity? Is the best yet to come for me? It can be.