The Happiest Place on Earth
by Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. – John 14:2
When I was in the fourth grade, my parents decided it was time for that rite of passage all families must one day undertake. On Friday morning, as my sisters and I prepared for school, they informed us that we would be leaving class an hour early today. Naturally, my sisters and I were excited to get a jump start on the weekend, but we also couldn’t help but wonder why.
“It’s a surprise,” was all my parents would say. That gave us pause. In my family, a “surprise” could mean anything from a baseball game, to getting our Hepatitis B shots at the doctor’s office. So it was with more than a little trepidation that we entered our family van that afternoon and began speeding toward the city. After about forty minutes of driving, my Dad pulled off the road into a crowded parking lot.
“Where do you think we’re going?” he asked with a huge grin on his face. We looked around at the city, the solid concrete parking lot, and the planes soaring overhead.
“Camping?” guessed one of my sisters. My mother reached into her pocket and produced several tickets that all bore the unmistakable image of Mickey Mouse. That’s when it hit us, WE WERE GOING TO DISNEYWORLD! Normally I avoid talking about Heaven, I feel like it distracts Christians from living in the here and now, but I can’t help seeing a glimpse of our final home in that old vacation. There was so much awe, wonder, and sheer joy at just being a child in Disneyworld.
Best of all, we had no idea what was waiting for us. We all knew of Disneyworld, but we had never experienced anything like it until that trip. In much the same way, Jesus has prepared a place for us in a world we cannot begin to comprehend. Just look at this verse from Revelation,
“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.’” – Revelation 22:3-7
I’m going to restrain myself from using a “Whole New World” joke. Rather, I’ll simply close with this message: This world is not our home. God made us to be a part of this world, but it is not where we truly belong. One day we will go home, and when that day comes, it will be quite the adventure.
Job 1:20-22 20At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing
We can scarcely imagine all that calamity striking in one day, though some readers will no doubt have experienced the one thing that was dearest to them taken. Losing all is losing all regardless if it is little or much. Surely Job’s greatest loss was that of his children. To lose even one child is worse than imaginable. How do you react to adversity?
When we read Job’s reaction, we see that God was correct in His assessment of Job. I’ve never seen anyone react without even a “Why God?” Job will come to that later. If you are wondering why Satan allowed his wife to live, it is because she told him to curse God and die. It was about to get even worse, as Satan does not wish to admit defeat and longed to turn Job against God.
Job’s response was to worship. His answer is quoted at funerals, but it should be considered throughout our lives. We came into the world without anything and we will leave with nothing. There has never been a moving van following a casket. The Egyptians tried, but all their treasures sit in museums. If our children go first, we will meet them one day, but our earthly treasures will go to others. Praise the name of the LORD. Praise Him for His wisdom in bringing us to the eternal and separating us from the temporal. How attached are you to the things that you will leave behind?
Consider: When we have a realization of the little value of the temporal, it is much easier to share with others at the leading of God.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Ephesians 1:5
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 9:10-24
It is at once a doctrine of Scripture and of common sense, that whatever God does in time he predestined to do in eternity. Some men find fault with divine predestination, and challenge the justice of eternal decrees. Now, if they will please remember that predestination is the counterpart of history, as an architectural plan, the carrying out of which we read in the facts that happen, they may perhaps obtain a slight clue to the unreasonableness of their hostility. I never heard any one among professors wantonly and wilfully find fault with God’s dealings, yet I have heard some who would even dare to call in question the equity of his counsels. If the thing itself be right, it must be right that God intended to do the thing; if you find no fault with facts, as you see them in providence, you have no grounds to complain of decrees, as you find them in predestination, for the decrees and the facts are just the counterpart one of the other. Have you any reason to find fault with God, that he has been pleased to save you, and save me? Then why should you find fault because Scripture says he pre-determined that he would save us? I cannot see, if the fact itself is agreeable, why the decree should be objectionable. I can see no reason why you should find fault with God’s foreordination, if you do not find fault with what does actually happen as the effect of it. Let a man but agree to acknowledge an act of providence, and I want to know how he can, except he runs in the very teeth of providence, find any fault with the predestination or intention that God made concerning that providence.
For meditation: Some talk as if the doctrine of predestination is the enemy of the Christian. Scripture lists it as one of the “all things” that work together for good to them that love God and which prove that God is for us (Romans 8:28-31).
“Is this not the fast that I choose to release the bonds of wickedness, to undo the ropes of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke?” – Isaiah 58:6-7 NASB
Today at sundown begins one of the most sacred days on God’s calendar: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. God Himself established this special day after the Israelites left Egypt (Leviticus 16:29). He directed that everyone was to examine their lives. No one could work or eat. Nothing was ordinary. This day was most holy to the Lord.
In later years, synagogues often read Isaiah 58 on Yom Kippur because this chapter focused on being clean. It was not enough to desire to be clean. They had to demonstrate that their desire was genuine by making practical changes.
These were essential principles to God. He promised to answer their call and bless their lives if they truly were sorry for their sins, made real changes, sought to restore broken relationships, and heal wounds caused by their words and deeds. God would answer them if they used their resources to minister to the needs of people.
This day still is special to God. He is holy and wants to bless His people. But He reminds us that we cannot receive these blessings if our lives are polluted by sin.
Remember, God wants to bless you. Let Him search your heart and mind. Commit to being clean in His sight. Confess your sins, and receive His forgiveness. Seek to minister to others and restore broken relationships. Obey His Word. Then rejoice in the freedom that is yours through Christ!