Published January 30, 2018

Paul's Epistle
"Unseen Things"

We've been doing a lot of interior renovations at home lately. In fact, for some time now, some room or other has been torn up.

As long as I've lived in our house (almost 40 years) there have been things that have been unseen and therefore unknown to me — pipes, wires, etc. — behind or inside the walls.

But now, because we had to open up some of the walls, and because I've been doing much of the work myself, I can see and understand what's there. I always knew these things had to be there because I saw the effects – electrical outlets had power, sinks had water supplies, etc. I just couldn't see them before.

Thinking about all of this, it occurred to me that this is lot like how our eyes will be opened to a whole new reality when we get to heaven.

I've been hearing about heaven as long as I can remember. I know heaven is real, because Jesus said it is. It's there now -- but unseen by us. We can only imagine the sights we will eventually find there. And there will be things that are far beyond our most extreme imaginings. Indeed, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

We're told that as Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler of the 13th century, lay dying, he was urged by his detractors to recant – to withdraw the amazing and, to many, unbelievable stories about the wonders he had witnessed in China and the lands of the Far East. But he refused, saying simply, "I have not told half of what I saw."

So it was with the Apostle John, writing his eyewitness account of heaven in the book of Revelation. He tried very hard, but just couldn't find the words that he felt would be adequate to explain all that he saw there. He couldn't even come close to telling half of what he saw.

But what he did tell was enough. Because there in the midst of heaven was the One who has made it possible, by His grace, for us to go there. There John beheld the One who died for us, rose from the grave for us, ascended to heaven for us and, soon, is coming back for us. The classic hymn says it well:

     "When all my labors and trials are o'er,
      And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
      Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
      Will thro' the ages be glory for me....
      When by His grace I shall look on His face,
      That will be glory, be glory for me."*

Indeed, the Carpenter of Nazareth has been doing a lot of construction work there: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2-3).

Unlike my renovation projects at the house, the Lord's preparations could be completed any day now.

Those who have accepted Christ as Savior and received forgiveness for their sins long for that "blessed hope" of the Lord's return (Titus 2:13). But those who have not done so are – or certainly should be – truly terrified (John 12:48).

Does the prospect of meeting the Creator of the universe face-to-face excite you? Or does it terrify you?

Don't wait until your eyes are opened wide to a whole new reality to set the matter right – because then it'll be too late.

- Paul Heil

* Lyrics from the hymn "Oh, That Will Be Glory" by Charles H. Gabriel, 1900.

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