You’re not going to believe this, but my Boss is sending me across the Atlantic again! When I applied for this job as God’s writer-friend, I had no idea so much travel would be involved. What was I thinking though, when the whole point is to prepare immortals for safe travel to the land of immortality?
While writing the last entry about pride making us too big to get through the narrow gate, it occurred to me that all of this preparation could appear to be absurd unless the destination was obviously desirable.
I am here to report that this old earth is fabulous! Sometimes I can’t imagine how the new one could be any better. Last month, in England, I went to a palatial hotel that made me feel like I was visiting Queen Elizabeth (only she wasn’t home, but told her staff that I could have the run of the palace). The gardens were magnificent, the food delectable, the pool and sauna prepared me for the relaxation room where I melted into a comfortable chair strategically positioned in front of a large aquarium. There I watched colorful sea creatures living in floating-harmony with each other while listening to the sounds of waves and violins. Then I travelled to Burgundy where I visited a serene cheese maker and her contented cows. Her cheeses were creamy and pungent; the still warm French bread she served had a perfect crust and the center was the lightest that I had ever known bread to be. Days later I found myself on a ship cruising through cobalt blue waters to Cozumel. It struck me then how much of this planet is water and how relatively insignificant the hectic land mass is to the planet as a whole. As I gazed out to sea, I also thought about the trips by sea my grandparents took when they left Greece for America at the turn of the twentieth century, never to return to their homelands or to see their parents again. Now, with only two days notice, I am being sent to Greece, and to our mountain village in the Cyclades. As usual, I don’t know why I am being sent there, but I am sure I will find out and then you will too.
The connection between all of this travel and going to the land of immortality has not escaped me. I think I am being shown how quickly reality can change. Waking up in DC, Luton, Beaune, at sea, Hora, in heaven or on new earth are equally new, different and real. I think I hear the Boss saying, "Get used to it. Be ready to be somewhere totally new and different. Be willing to go...alone."
God is the kind of Father who wants neither to bribe anyone to love Him nor to threaten anyone to go with Him. To tell someone to give up eating chocolate or pride so (s)he can go to Disneyland misses the point entirely. To see God, even a glimpse of Him in your heart, is a truly amazing experience. His magnificence, the many glories of His majesty are breathtaking. His love and patience, His Wisdom, His intelligence and His sense of humor are light-years beyond anyone on earth. If you can imagine how absurd it would be for the king of England to want to bribe someone to live with him on one of his estates with a mansion, or seventy virgins, or worse, to threaten them that they will suffer fire and brimstone if they won’t make the journey to Westminster, then perhaps you can see why God would neither bribe nor threaten a soul.
The beauty of the new earth has less to do with better geography and more to do with what is not there. There is no sickness, sorrow, or even sighing. There is no darkness or death, and there is no marriage, even good marriages. No one goes there for the food and wine, the sea and sun, but simply because the world ended and segregation prevailed; God discriminated against those who were always free to love or to hate, to be like Him or to be unlike him. When He gave birth to His children through the narrow gates in their hearts, He hoped they would choose life.
Yes, my fellow aspiring immortal, we want to go to that place of light and life more than anything in this world not for the candy or to avoid taxes but because God lives there, and we will be able to see Him there, whereas now we can only hear Him speak to us, and we can only see evidence all around that He is actually here.
I’ll be back in a week, please come back too.