Looking Ahead

  • March 8, 2018
  • #9354

Do you ever find yourself clinging to a happy moment or thought? While it's good to thank God for past blessings, we also need to learn to look ahead and receive future blessings with open arms.

Person looking out at a lake and mountains

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with encouragement from Colossians Chapter 3.

There, the apostle tells us, “Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God.” Wow, I love that! And you know, I honestly try to do that. With all my heart I want to think about my “real life” with God’s Son and the place He is preparing for me. But I don’t often succeed—not nearly as much as I would like. For so much of the time, so many other things fill my thoughts: worries, regrets, fears, frustrations, and all sorts of earthly, here-and-now, Joni-centered things.

But there are moments. Something I see, hear, dream, or remember will open my spirit like a shutter. In those breathless intervals, I slip from my temporary earth-bound citizenship to my true and rightful one in heaven. For several heartbeats, I catch a glimpse of another Reality, and I inhale the fragrance of a Better Country, and I sense a moment in time that’s somehow beyond time. And it feels like home. When something like that happens, I want to capture the experience, bottle it up, tuck it away in a secret place, or even slip it into a Ziploc bag (to open and experience all over again). But, you know what? I can’t.

I was reminded of this just the other day in something I read. In C. S. Lewis’s last book, he made a passing reference to the poet William Blake, and he spoke about “kissing a joy as it flies by.” I had to look that up to see what it meant. The actual four-line poem goes like this:

“He who binds himself to a joy
does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
lives in eternity’s sunrise.” —William Blake

Here’s the point behind that poem: You can revel in heart-melting moments of beauty, and happy times of companionship with Jesus, but you can’t freeze time to hold onto them. If you tried to wrap your fingers around them, capture them in a golden cage, you would only kill them. So, what do you do with those rare, golden moments of life when you are swept into wonder? You savor them. You humbly thank God for them; and you let them go.

I remember long ago (quite long ago) when I wrote my book on heaven — I called it “Heaven, Your Real Home,” I described a time out on my back porch on a clear cold night. After searching the stars to find Ursa Major, I simply let my spirit soar. That was when I had the other-worldly experience of hearing some faint, mysterious strain of music. It wasn’t from the neighbor’s house and it wasn’t from the TV in the family room. It was in the moment, it was from the heavens, it was for my ears only, and it created a deep, unspeakable, half-joyful, half-sorrowful longing (just a deep longing) for heaven.

It broke my heart, but it healed my heart, and then then it was gone. I couldn’t cling to that moment and to this day I can’t recall a single note of that celestial music I heard. As much as I treasure the memory of those few seconds, nothing quite like that has ever happened again to me. I had to let it go. So, it is with those heart-lifting moments when the Lord allows you the tiniest glimpse into your future home. Heaven will fill your thoughts, as the Scripture says, but it’s not like a snapshot that you can put on your refrigerator. It’s not like a shrine that you come back to. It’s just a little shaft of grace through a quick opening in the clouds reminding you every day to let heaven fill your thoughts and then just let that beauty go.

© Joni and Friends



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