In recent days, my family has experienced major changes and ends of life. Even when loved ones live full years and their passing is expected, it’s not easy. Lifelong relationships provide more riches than untested beginnings, but whether it’s calendars, or entire worlds, Jesus makes all things new.
In The Great Divorce C. S. Lewis presents plants and animals we know as super-sized, larger than life, with greater glory and beauty than anything on earth.
Near the end of her life, unsure if she were dreaming or awake, my mother described seeing dazzling tulips the size of umbrellas. “Keep watching,” I said. “Those are the beginnings of God’s garden. He’ll show you much more.”
I hadn’t experienced anything close until two years ago after a night-long trans-Atlantic flight to visit friends in Denmark, my plane angled down to skim into Iceland. After the blue-green sea met black volcanic basalt, fields around the airport were vivid purple carpets. As the plane slowed to drop lower still, millions of brilliant purple Lupine spikes glowed like fire as intense Nordic sunlight blazing through them. Unaware I would see anything so magnificent, they were gone before I could grab my camera, and then our wheels hit the runways. But they glowed so vividly, so brighter-than-life, they burned into my consciousness. All other sensations stopped as I marveled--almost worshipped. Their beauty overloaded my circuits, literally taking my breath away. I dream of flying there again to recapture that experience.
That must be what it's like entering heaven. The Lord’s presence is so wondrous and real, it takes our earthly breath away, giving us His. His breath, new life, in eternal exchange. So that we willingly let go of all we know to enter heaven where He makes all things new.
Last week I spent good days with my 93-year-old dying father. Our best times were laughter, conveying more than conversation. Others had prayed with him. I did, too, asking God his state, and became overwhelmed by strong assurances that God is so much more merciful than I understood. Glimpses of His indescribable beauty built my faith. And took my breath away. Giving me something better.
What about you? What takes your breath away? What does He replace it with?