Have you seen one of those nickels commemorating Lewis and Clark’s expedition? The Corps of Discovery, as it was called, had a difficult assignment from President Thomas Jefferson to explore the vast expanse of the West. They were also trying to find a water route to the Pacific. I was looking at one of those nickels and noticed the inscription on the back. 1805 is inscribed indicating the year their journey came to an end. There is also a picture of a tree and the Pacific Ocean. Also inscribed on the coin is the words: “Ocean in View, O the Joy” After that one and a half year long arduous journey fraught with dangers, privations and difficulties, finally their journey had come to its end. They were now within view of their final destination: the Pacific Ocean.
God’s people have an infallible map about their final destination of heaven. God’s Word tells us about the beauty of the city with its 12 jeweled foundations, its gates of pearl, its gold street, and its jasper wall. We are told that in heaven there is no more tears, no death, no sorrow, or crying. God tells us that He will make all things new for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:4,5). Perhaps the best thing about heaven is the fact that God dwells there with His people. Rev. 21:3 says: “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God”.
Has your expedition in this world been a difficult one? Have you shed a few tears and felt the stabbing pains of life? One day our journey will come to an end. We will say our last words and breathe our last breath. Are you prepared to leave this world? Have you repented of your sins and received Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you have done that you have nothing to fear about your final destination. You can even say, Heaven in view…O the joy!
Our community of Punta Gorda, Florida was hit by a category 4 hurricane on August 13, 2004. Hurricane Charlie blew into town with massive winds that caused much destruction and changed people’s lives. Homes and businesses were destroyed and a few people lost their lives. Also many trees were blown over and uprooted and had to be removed. Some trees were bent over but began growing again. I call these survivors, hurricane trees. They were bent over during the hurricane but began growing straight once again.
God’s people can experience hurricanes in their lives also. Perhaps a death in the family or a devastating health problem can blow onto our doorstep. We may even experience the devastating effects of a personal failure and live with the consequences of our sin. These hurricanes can bend us to the ground. However I am thankful that our God can help us to grow straight again. Paul suffered a physical setback that he described as a thorn in the flesh. He asked the Lord to remove it but God did not. Instead the Lord told him that he could grow and flourish because His grace would be sufficient for him (2 Cor. 12:9,10). David blew it big time with his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the sinful cover-up. He had failed God and others and his life was truly bent out of shape. Yet when David was confronted with his sin, he confessed it to God and repented. He prays to God: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:7-10). David though bent, began to grow upright again.
Has some devastating foul wind blown you down? Do you feel that your life is bent over like the trees from Hurricane Charlie? God is so gracious. He will listen to our cries, He will restore our usefulness, and He will cause us to grow straight again like the hurricane trees.
Sometimes Christians are accused of being so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good. The opposite of that phrase is far more likely. Sometimes we are so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good. I for one do not think it is possible to be too heavenly minded. As a matter of fact we are challenged in the Bible to set our minds on things above. Col. 3:1-3 instructs us: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”.
Being heavenly minded can help us deal with the loss of loved ones who know the Lord. We believe there is a life beyond this life, a world beyond this world, and a home far better than anything on earth. Knowing that our loved ones who died in Christ are enjoying eternity with the Lord gives us an undergirding hope. Being heavenly minded will also help us to endure the sufferings of this present world. The Bible promises those who know the Lord will receive a glorified body (1 Cor. 15:51-53). Our present pains and diseases, physical limitations and mental struggles will one day be over. The glorious assurance of 2 Cor. 5:8 bolsters our faith with the truth that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Also having our minds set on things above will help us deal with any financial loss or the destruction of any of our earthly treasure. When we wreck our car, when an appliance goes out, when we suffer a job loss it does bring us pain and confusion. But followers of Jesus are encouraged because we know that our real treasure is laid up in heaven where nothing can touch it (Matt. 6:19,20).
Because we believe there is a real place called heaven we have a purpose for the present and we a have hope for the future. Hold the things of earth with a light grip and the things of heaven with a powerful grasp.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation