We ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:19-22 NIV)
Our Father is amazing!!! I just can’t get over how beautiful this time of year is. We have been blessed with exceptionally warm weather, beautiful skies and superb sunsets. The leaves have started to change and the colors are magnificent! With this wonderful Fall weather, I am still enjoying the fruit of my garden. The “Giant Red Bell” peppers are turning from green to the red that gives them their name. But in that state of transition is some remarkable blending of these two primary colors. My backyard is alive with life as the little creatures prepare for the coming of winter. My bird bath is a gathering place for all manner of four-legged rodent and winged creature. And, as the neighborhood cats stroll through my yard the cacophony of alerts from all of these critters sounds like a kindergarten performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. All of creation is vibrant and alive at this time of year! We are blessed to be in a part of the world where we can experience God’s majesty on display. Every Fall, I am reminded of the creative genius of our God - His ability to sovereignly end one season, bring in another, and do it with such grandeur and glory. He is to be praised!
Now friends, here is what is on my mind: we are living in a fallen world where even the creation has been subjected to the effects of the Fall – that is death and decay, disease and destruction. Paul reminds us that all of creation is perishing (1Cor. 15), and Isaiah states that “the grass withers and the flower fades” (Isa. 40:8). It is quite apparent in our day and age, as it has always been, that the beauty of creation is subjected to wars, neglect, decay, earthquakes, fires, floods, etc. The earth is perishing as are we – sadly, our physical bodies are subject to those same effects of the Fall. That is probably why we are reminded to set our mind on things above (Col. 3:2; Phil. 4:8; Rom. 8:5). So, I set my mind on things above and ask myself, “If God’s creation is this breathtaking now, what will it be like in Heaven?” Quoting the prophet Isaiah, Paul writes: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." (1Corinthians 2:9). Can we even comprehend what awaits us? No one has really been there and come back to tell us. Paul was taken up to paradise but not allowed to share what he saw (2Cor. 12:4). Maybe one of my favorite Christian singers Keith Green, can express what some of us are looking forward to, from the song I can’t wait to get to Heaven:
But I know that Jesus Christ has been preparing a home
For me and for some of you, for two thousand years
And if this world took six days and that home took two thousand years
Hey man, this is like living in a garbage can compared to what's going up there
The beauty we witness at this time of year is of a nature that is in a state of decay. Nonetheless, this creation is to display the majesty and glory of God, so much so, that it is sufficient to draw people to acknowledge the existence of a Creator: “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God”. (NLT Romans 1:20)
Despite all the beauty, we long for what awaits us, even as the writers of scripture did:
Paul: “And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” ( NLT Romans 8:23)
John: “Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” (NLT1 John 3:2)
Peter: “But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.” (NLT2Pet. 3:13-14)
Isaiah: “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” (NLTIsaiah 65:17)
These great saints of God were all looking forward to a renewed or completely new heaven and earth. The Apostle John did manage to get a glimpse of what is waiting for us in his revelation of Heaven. He describes brilliant colours, and pearls, and gold, crystal clear water, one huge tree producing different kinds of fruit every single month; there will be no sun, nor moon, for God’s glory will be our light (Rev. 21:19 - 22:5). There will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain (Rev. 21:4). No more decay or corruption, for all will be incorruptible (1Cor. 15). It will be paradise re-gained!
So I encourage you this week to get outside and sit by a stunningly breath-taking setting; take in the beauty of the creation before your eyes; listen to the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves, and the creatures going about their God-orchestrated lives, and let yourself imagine what it might be like in heaven. And then praise God that He has supplied the only way to get to see the beauty of what awaits us by revealing His precious Son to us and purchasing with His own blood our ticket to that glorious destination. God be praised!
Have a great week!
"Advancing the Kingdom of God by releasing Spirit-filled followers to serve Jesus in freedom and joy."