Yesterday, I spent an amazing day enjoying Spring with my kids. First thing in the morning, we threw open the back patio door and all the windows to let the warm breezes run through the house. Then, after wolfing down a quick breakfast, we ran on to the back deck with bare feet to bask in the warm sun.
We examined the flower garden, beginning to bloom. Daffodils, crocuses, and “glory of the snow” had unfurled their buds overnight and were dancing lightly in the breeze. My children ran from flower to flower, chirping with excitement as they exclaimed at the beauty and fragrance of each one. The birds flitting back and forth between the trees joined the chorus in song.
I pulled a rake out of the garage and began raking old, dead leaves from some of the other flower beds. As I worked, the bright green growth of new plants emerged from beneath the leaves. The world felt fresh and brand new, and I exhaled deeply, taking in the scent of earth and new growth.
A neighbor exiting his house spotted us over the fence and waved. “Would you like these chairs for your children?” he asked, pulling some plastic miniature chairs out of his shed. “My daughter is grown and doesn’t need them anymore.” My kids squealed with excitement as we thankfully accepted the chairs. Then we piled into the van and headed to the local garden center, where a helpful employee filled our cart with two bags of play sand and chatted with us about summer children’s activities we might be interested in. On the way out, I added another beautiful hanging plant to my cart. Couldn’t hurt to add even more beauty to the backyard, could it?
Later, sipping a coffee I had acquired on the way home (could this day get any better?) I sat basking in the sun, leisurely watching my barefoot children dig their toes into the sand in their newly filled sandbox. Sighing with contentment, I thought to myself, “this is perfection.” The morning had been so nice! Beautiful weather, kind neighbors, helpful strangers, happy kids, new sand, fresh growth, damp earth, and good coffee. Does it get any better than that?!?!
Its days like yesterday that I most fear death. I start to think, “I could live here on this earth forever! It’s beautiful, and comfortable, and known. I love my family and my children and my community. People are generally good and nice around here and overall I can’t complain too much.” And then the prospect of leaving those known comforts and people becomes scary. I start to focus on the loss. Think of everything I will lose by dying some day. My children! My husband! My home! My things! My community!
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
But then life goes on, and my children get sick and puke on the couch. There are crayon scribbles on the wall and sand ground into the carpet. We can’t pay some of our bills on time, my husband and I have an argument, my children show defiance and disobedience, a hard drive full of cherished photos and videos crashes irreparably, a friend has a miscarriage, and the ceiling in one of our bedrooms starts caving in due to a leaky roof. In the wider community, cars are stolen, governments are corrupted, people are mugged, and raped, and murdered. The signs of a sinful and broken world are all around us.
Yet, the same God who made the flowers, and the coffee, and gave people a conscience so that they can find kindness in their hearts—this same God has prepared a place for us in heaven. Why should I ever fear that? Why would I think, even for a moment, that God has prepared anything less for us than perfection?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30)
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)
If i am satisfied now with a few pretty flowers and a good cup of coffee, both of which were created by God and given to me in this imperfect home, just think of how amazed and happy I will be by the wonders he has created for me in his perfect home—heaven.
“The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:21)