Updated: May 22, 2020
“For we know that if the tent of our earthly house should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Second Corinthians verse 5:1 gives me the deep feeling of comfort that only parents can give. I am reminded of the unparalleled feeling of safety, relief and protection that walking into my parents' home gives me. It is an assurance that all is well when I nestle into the crisp, soft bed and a knowing that endless nurturing is in store for me.
My heavenly home became even more real to me after living through a catastrophic hurricane. Marooned in the country far from emergency services and FEMA, we survived 21 days on a generator in the heat of early fall in Florida. I would often retreat to a futon where the hot breeze blanketed me from empty windows on either side, their remnants of screens floating like gauze. The movement of the warm draft over my skin created a sense of comparative cool. I would lay still as if somehow underneath the layer of heat, literally resting in heaven. Eyes closed and breathing slowed, I would dwell in the clouds of pale silvery pink lined in the fluorescent orange of a sunset. I would float in this sea of the peace. Abiding there took me away from the endless jarring of chainsaws, generators and heavy equipment that was our constant companion in those days.
Some may say that my dreamy escape into heaven was just that, an escape. However, in retrospect, I see it as the gift of a brief breakthrough to the eternal. This experience taught me that an unparalleled eternal peace awaits me beyond the edges of the earth... beyond the broken landscape of uprooted trees and twisted houses, and ever present fear and despair. Second Corinthians 4:18 tells us thus, to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” I do not have to be under extreme duress in order to dwell in the eternal. It is simply a matter of shifting my focus.
I am beckoned out to my morning runs by a holy symphony of chirping from the birds that live in the tall stands of trees surrounding my complex. I am witness to the cool air and the scarlet crest of sun breaking over the horizon. Every lap is a gift to my eyes as the rising sun, transforms the sky from one piece of art to another. God’s eternal love is so present in the cathedral of my forest canopy. I hear Him whisper to my heart. “I love you, I will guide your way, I will provide for you.”
Paul encouraged us to adopt the same heavenly focus in Colossians 3:1–4, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Whether we are in a hurricane, a pandemic, or in a professional position that seems equally impossible, our food, our sustenance and our strength is derived from Him who overshadows all things earthly.
When we direct our gaze to His love for us and the eternal peace we derive from abiding in Him, we elevate our thoughts beyond daily strife and seemingly insurmountable problems. And at any time, we may shift our focus from fear and despair to the promise of heavenly peace. In Isaiah 55:8-9, the Lord himself, encourages us to shift the focus of our thoughts and dwell in His heavenly home: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."