zach and i have started reading books on heaven. we were inspired by the series our church is going through on revelation. he’s reading the full book Heaven, and i’m reading the bit-sized-pieces version, 50 Days of Heaven. i find that i do better reading deeper/study books when i read in small doses, and particularly when i read as part of my morning devotions. but the bigger book is divided into tons of sections and topics so i’m sure i’ll at least dip into that one sometime too.
i was so provoked and encouraged by a few short selections i read this morning and wanted to share them. i’m really good and seeing exactly what is around me… and sometimes only that. but life isn’t about what you see right here and now. it’s all about what you can’t see.
In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, California, determined to swim to the mainland. An experienced swimmer, she had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways.
The weather that day was foggy and chilly; Florence could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam steadily for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her that she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, Florence stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was aboard the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day, she said, “All I could see was the fog… I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” (Randy Alcorn, 50 Days of Heaven)
so good. reminded me of Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore, since we
are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside
every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us, looking
to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that
was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated
at the right hand of the throne of God.
Perspective is key.
I also enjoyed this other tidbit:
“No Christian should be pessimistic. We should be true realists – focused on the reality that we serve a sovereign and gracious God. Because of the reality of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and his promises, biblical realism is optimism.” (Randy Alcorn, 50 Days of Heaven
Christian optimism isn’t just a stoic and candidly plastered smile on our faces that we force through gritted teeth while saying, “oh I’m fine. God is sovereign.” it’s a longing for heaven, a glimpse of the shore, a hope in Christ that helps alleviate some of the pain of this life and presses us on toward the next.