Heaven on Earth
A Lazy River on a Spring Day
Ezekiel 43:2 NIV
"And I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory."
On my first visit to Turkmenistan in 2004, my two colleagues from the states and I visited a school in Ashgabat, the capital. We were to be entertained by students, who had memorized passages to recite for us from their book, the Ruhnama.
On our way there, we picked up Turkish pizzas and bottles of soda to feed the students. We were going to have lunch with them and answer questions about American culture.
When our car pulled onto their gated property, I was stunned to see dozens of school girls and boys rush out of the dilapidated two-story building to greet us. They cheered and ran alongside us as the driver wove in and out among them to deliver us closer to the entrance. When we finally disembarked from the vehicle, the children hugged us and presented us with flowers. They cheered and led us by the hands into the school.
I was surprised by our reception, which made me feel like a million bucks. I was certain no Hollywood rockstar had ever received such a welcome.
After we served the kids lunch and they had recited for us, they had a chance to ask us questions that ranged in scope from how many people were in our family to whom we were going to vote for in the upcoming presidential election.
We handed out American flags and posed for photos with the children. They asked us for our autographs. All the students, from primary to secondary, wanted to speak to us.
One day, I will see God. Rejoicing with God will far surpass the few hours I had in Turkmenistan with the children, but that experience gave me a minuscule understanding of what joy and celebrating for its own sake can feel like. The children made us feel special and welcome; they honored us.
God honors those who have been faithful to Him. They will radiate in His glory. I can't imagine the joy and happiness that surround those who are in the presence of the Lord.
In the meantime, I appreciate the "Heaven on Earth" moments He shares with me in life. The birth of my children. Making John laugh so hard he cries. Christmas Eve after the presents have all been put out and the kids are in bed, and I am awake alone listening to Christmas music as the lights on the tree twinkle in anticipation of the morning. An orange sunrise over the marsh. A kiss on the cheek from my cat when I am sad. A clear view of Orion, the Hunter, in the night sky. These are some moments that can take my breath away.
God doesn't make us wait until we die to experience glory with Him. He presents us with moments while we are alive to hold on to that reveal the radiance yet to come.
Lord, thank you for moments in life where I have experienced "Heaven on Earth". I have treasured them all.