Plans have changed. Life is not the same. One of my vacation weeks has already been postponed. Another is in jeopardy.
My family has enjoyed going to Vogel State Park every summer for 30 years. We are scheduled to be there again at the end of May. It might not happen.
But when I close my eyes, I can still see it. It’s a place so familiar and so much a part of life that it’s like going home even when I’m not actually there. Maybe that’s what heaven should feel like for Christians.
When I close my eyes, I see a place of stunning beauty. Sunlight dances like a million diamonds on Lake Trahlyta as a cool breeze sways the firs. A gauzy cloud covers the top of Blood Mountain. Laughter of children bounces off the water from the beach on the other shore. A fisherman casts his line as the dark, silent shadow of a rainbow trout glides gracefully by. The faint smell of hamburgers sizzling over an open grill floats from the picnic area.
When I close my eyes to imagine heaven, I tend to see the mountains of Vogel or the beaches of the Florida panhandle. I have no picture of heaven apart from such places. Yet, these are just a sampler. Nothing in this temporary world compares to the beauty of God’s eternal home.
When I close my eyes, I see my family - three generations from two states gathering for one fantastic week. We read, play horseshoes and board games, go hiking, swim, and eat – and eat some more. We talk for hours about everything and about nothing. We doze whenever we want. We enjoy just being together.
When I close my eyes, I also see heaven as a place of family - a place where those who have become children of God are gathered to enjoy the company of their heavenly Father and their spiritual brothers and sisters. Surely, we will play together there, too. We’ll talk and laugh and take long walks to enjoy each other and the beauty around us.
When I close my eyes, I see a place where worries are forgotten. A week at Vogel is a chance to get away from it all for a few days.
When I close my eyes, I see heaven as a chance to escape the worries of life forever. God has promised to insure that, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
COVID-19 has claimed many lives. It will take more. One of them could be mine. But when I close my eyes for the last time, that won’t be a bad thing. I expect to see what I’ve so far only imagined. If you don’t have that same assurance, now is a good time to find confidence in Christ that supersedes any crisis.