I spent the day with flowers and clouds and cool wet sand under my bare feet, splashing in tiny warm pools of ocean water left behind by retreating waves. The tide was out and the sun was high. The fullness of summer was all around me in the warm salt breezes. These are God’s gifts. He gives to all freely, whether they love him or not, whether they seek truth or not, whether they’re going to Heaven or not. Jesus said God sends his rain and his sunshine on the good and the bad alike. God does this because he loves us all the same.
Christians forget that sometimes, that God loves us all the same. They forget that God is the judge, and that our job is not to do his job but to treat all others as we want to be treated, even and especially those who treat us badly. Because we will be treated badly. That’s a guarantee. And the closer we follow behind Jesus, the worse we’ll be treated.
That’s one of the reasons why God made days like today. It’s not the only reason, but it’s one of the reasons. That’s why he made the flowers and the clouds and tiny pools of sun-warmed salt water, toe-deep and just big enough to fit a foot. He made these to comfort us. And to remind us what is waiting for us if we make it home. I hadn’t planned to be standing there today, surrounded by the glory of a Nova Scotia summer, but that’s where I found myself at high noon.
God said: Remember these things. Store them up. These are the treasures you can take to Heaven.
I have seen Heaven. It’s like Earth, only perfect. The memories we treasure come to life in Heaven and remain there forever. The beach I was at today is perfected in Heaven and waiting for me whenever I want to visit. The flowers that are about to fade retain their full glory. The breeze is never too brisk or too cool, but always just right.
I have seen Heaven. And I have caught glimpses of it here, like a rough draft or what art students call a “quick and dirty”. I caught a glimpse of it today in a seagull tracing a perfect circle against the blue sky, and in the whiff of wild white roses sweetening the salt breeze. God puts all these things here for us, to comfort us and to let us build our very own customized Heaven. We do that one glimpse and one whiff at a time.
Tomorrow, if I go back to that same beach at high noon, the tide will be a little farther out. Maybe the pools where I walked today will have dried up already and the sky will have more clouds than blue. Maybe the wind will be blowing a little harder, maybe a little colder; maybe the rose petals will have faded one more day’s worth. The near perfection of today will have turned into a memory and a few digital pics, but not in Heaven. In Heaven, the full glory of today lives on forever.
Go out and see the world. God made it for you. See the mountains and the flowers and the birds and the trees. See everything God made – not what man has made, what God has made. It’s all for you, every last bit of it. It’s for you to enjoy now, and to take with you if and when you go home.