My wheels are turnin' tonight, so stay with me.
I came home today, distraught and somewhat depressed, and I started flipping through an issue of CCM Magazine that for some reason arrived in my mailbox. (I don't subscribe to it, and most likely won't be in the future, but I thought I'd at least read a few things since they sent me a free copy.) At the very end of the magazine, Nichole Nordeman has a small article called "Loose Ends...Confessions of an Unfinished Faith" that comforted me today. She wrote about some of her "colleagues," I guess you could say, in the Christian music industry and their songs about wanting to go to heaven. Her struggle is this: instead of wanting to be at home in heaven, she has been wanting to find home here...on earth. She articulates the truth that we all know--there are things we want to do here on earth before we go to heaven (i.e. get married, have kids, find a cure for cancer, find purpose, find a job we love, win an award, perfect some skill, or so on...) I won't lie. I'd sort of like to get married before Jesus comes back. I'm just being honest.
And so she was writing about wanting to want heaven. So do I. I'm glad I'm not alone in this.
And then I went to Bible Study tonight, where Beth Moore is taking us through the book of Daniel and we're beginning the second half that correlates with the book of Revelation. Again, just being honest, I've never given much thought to the prophecies in the book of Daniel or John's visions of beasts and strange images in Revelation. But tonight, I started to see it all tie together.
We studied Daniel 7 tonight, and what we seemed to linger on for awhile was the title God is given as "Ancient of Days." I've sung those words before, but I didn't really understand what it meant until now. It means He has been in the judgement seat from the very beginning, and He always will be. Nothing gets by Him. There may be wrong in the world that we don't see made right, but He will eventually make it right.
In Daniel 7 his throne is a chariot of fire, but in Revelation 22:1-2, there is different imagery. It says this:
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."
We went from the fires of judgment to healing waters of life. This is what heaven is.
And it is hitting me hard today, as I came home from work and wallowed in what few, minute worries I have in my life. Too often I let my circumstances overrule my life, and then I realize that there are bigger problems in the world. Children are dying of AIDS in Africa, there are orphans without a home or people to love them in Romania and even here in the United States, there are people battling physical and emotional problems around the world, humans go without meals every day, and there are people who are lonely, truly depressed, and without hope.
There is hope. I have hope. My sins and my problems are before me, but they are not blocking the way to heaven. Nor can I let them steal my joy or my hope. There are bigger issues in the world, and there are people who don't have hope with whom I should be sharing it. I just thought of the words to an old camp song that I've just now found meaning to: "I've got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see...opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I've got a river of life flowing out of me."
Why didn't I realize it till now?