a sign of things to come: glimpses of His kingdom

a college professor of mine once told our class that music is that thing in life that can get at ecstasy and infinity unlike anything else. he was referring to the fourth movement of beethoven’s symphony number nine, a portion of which he had just shared with us. i thought he was crazy. he was comparing a song to the infinity of heaven. it was beautiful, sure, but i thought he was going overboard.

yet, on some level, there are occasions in life where i feel as though we are given a sign of things to come. a glimpse into what the kingdom of Heaven will be like. and i think they are intentional. i think they are His way of reassuring us that it’s worth the wait, to remain strong and to finish the race. for, while now we only see in part, someday we will see in whole.

beyond beethoven

there are events and situations in this life that seem to give us a glimpse into the eternity of Heaven, either by portraying aspects of God’s character, or by illustrating the glory of His Kingdom.

we can see it in the altruistic love of a parent, who will gladly risk their own happiness, health and even life for their child. the kind of love that holds nothing back. the kind of love that was displayed for us by Christ on the cross.

we get a glimpse into the glory and majesty of His coming Kingdom while enjoying a sunset blazing forth in a multitude of spectacular colors (even for a colorblind individual like myself), seemingly swallowing up the sky in its entirety, stretching on, and on, and on.

and we see a sign of things to come in the joy and everlasting love portrayed by the elderly couple who has been married for 50, 60 or 70 years. i cannot help but stop and take in the sight of such a couple at every opportunity. to see two people still take pleasure in the company of their spouse after so many years, to genuinely care for each other, to enjoy holding hands and even stealing a kiss in public. that’s the good stuff. and it’s only a glimpse into what we will someday see in whole.

hear me out

now, i am not saying that these things are Heaven, nor are they Him. they are simply glimpses of His Kingdom, or of His traits. and they are symbolic of the goodness that we will someday see in whole.

as the apostle paul put it, “…now i know in part; then i shall know fully…”

nor am i suggesting that someone can have a relationship with God simply by enjoying a sunset or by loving their children. His Word makes it very clear that the only way to The Father is through The Son, Jesus Christ.

His Word also tells us that we are supposed to be connected to the body of believers who make up the Church. this one, in particular, is very difficult for many. particularly those who have been hurt by either the Church or those in the church.

yet, we are called to remain connected to Him and to His people, and for good reason.

a person who professes to be a Christian yet who makes no effort to build and maintain a relationship with Christ or the Church is like someone who gets tickets to the superbowl and after enjoying the pregame tailgate party in the parking lot, turns around and goes home without ever even stepping foot into the stadium. they’ve missed the real party after only seeing a glimpse of what was to come!

no hell, no way

it’s because of these glimpses of His kingdom that i simply cannot believe it when people say that “this is hell.” that the life we live every day is the eternal place of torment and torture with which The Bible speaks. for certain, if that were true, things would be much, much worse. eternally worse, in fact. there would be no joy. there would be no light. there would be no hope. and to those who say there is none now, i say “just wait.”

for now, we are to enjoy what little light we have. but we must remember that it is only a sign of things to come. it is only a ray of light peeking through the door of His kingdom. but, surely, someday that door will open fully and in will pour the completeness of His light. and it is for that day to which we strive.

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