The Better Country

  • Sept. 21, 2017
  • #9234

Set not your hearts on the temporary things of earth, but on the eternal glory of our heavenly country.

Sunrise

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I’m looking for a better country.

Hi, welcome to Joni and Friends. And what country am I talking about? How about the one described in Hebrews Chapter 11. The 13th verse starts talking about people of faith like Abraham, and it says of them, of us, that, “We do not receive the things promised; we only see those things and welcome them from a distance, admitting we are foreigners and strangers on earth. People who talk like that show that they are looking for a better country, a heavenly country.” Don’t you love that verse? I sure do love talking about that heavenly country, and when I run across other pilgrims who talk like that, wow—it’s like I’ve met a kindred spirit.

For instance: I was at a funeral recently to pay respects to a Christian brother who had passed away from pancreatic cancer. His 20-year-old daughter, Michelle, approached me after the graveside service. She stopped me as I was wheeling to my van. Besides thanking me for coming, Michelle told me about a most remarkable conversation that she had with her dad the day before he died. She explained that her father was very restless that day, unable to let go. As she sat by his bedside, she said, “Daddy, it’s okay. I’ll be okay. You can let go.” He let out a deep sigh and said, “But honey, I won’t be here to walk you down the aisle.” Michele wasn’t even engaged, and mustering every effort to console her dear father, she said, “Oh Daddy, please don’t worry about my wedding. Don’t let that distress you. You’re a man of Hebrews Chapter 11; you're heading for a better country, a country in heaven! There’s nothing to miss about my earthly wedding, Daddy. My dress is gonna fade and become torn. My wedding photos will yellow with age. My body will grow old and turn to dust. But everything in heaven is going to last forever, and Daddy, I’m going to meet you at the real wedding on the other side!”

I was absolutely amazed when I heard her say this. And even more amazed when she said that her father immediately relaxed and a knowing smile even came across his face because they both knew what she said was true. The next day he peacefully passed away. Near tears, Michelle told me, “And Joni, you know what? I meant everything I said to him. I meant it. Heaven will be that good!”

I don’t know where in the world Michele gathered the composure (and not just that) but the wisdom to say such Spirit-blessed words to her father. Her's was a true sacrifice. The day before her dad died, she wasn’t even thinking about herself. She didn’t regret him not being at her wedding—not one day walking her down the aisle. Rather, she focused on what her father needed. What he needed to hear and remember. And the really amazing part is she meant it. Her words were true. Her wedding dress really will fade and become torn, and her body will grow old and turn to dust. It’s true that she’s a stranger, a foreigner and a pilgrim in this land. Michele knows that, and she acts like it. And people who have that kind of composure and offer that kind of wisdom, are people who are looking for a better country. They are setting their hearts not on the passing things of this earth but a heavenly country.

Friend, if you are not longing for that country, not yearning for it, not living for and investing in it, then get to know Hebrews Chapter 11 like Michele does. Consider it your manual for pilgrimage, your roadmap to your heavenly country.

When you have a chance today, drop by joniandfriends.org/radio.

© Joni and Friends

 

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