The other day we were celebrating a dear friend’s recent marriage. We were at a local resort, so I had a Mai Tai. My brother used to drink them (or a Zombie) in similar resort-ish environs, and although I don’t drink often, I adopted the tradition. Well, then I had a second, and with the atmosphere and the company, I was feeling quite euphoric.
The next day I was reminded that our experiences here on earth are only a faint shadow of what they will be like when we stand in the presence of God. I have heard some try to describe it: think of the greatest meal you have ever had, infinitely better; or the most beautiful sunset with colors you would never have imagined; or music the likes of which you have never heard.
Whenever we try to use earthly words, images or experiences to define the divine we have no choice but to fall magnificently short. So in my euphoria of the previous evening resides just a minuscule glimpse of what lies in store for us when we ‘meet our Maker’. Take a second to remember the greatest ‘high’ that you ever experienced. Maybe a love, a birth, a triumph – maybe even a really intense buzz. Now imagine that God has imagined it much better than you. That is what the Father has is in store for His children.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
Then the next thought hit me. Remember the worst sadness, the deepest pain, or greatest sorrow, or a really bad hangover. Or, how about loneliness and fear, or intense isolation – or worse yet – hopelessness. These also exist when we become separated from God. Now imagine either condition in the context of eternity, knowing the choice is yours. And then understand that at the moment you accept Christ into your heart, the choice is made. It is only those that do not choose, they have left God no choice but to judge them. There is a translation of the Lord’s Prayer that ends:
And do not put us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. (Luke 11:4)
So the final test is not for everyone. That is the message today. The Christian’s destiny is Paradise and all we need to do is live our lives like we believe it…and start smiling!