I've always found it amazing how God teaches us about Himself. Many of my lessons have come when I was not expecting them. God seems to delight in catching me off-guard, coming up along side and whispering in my ear. Then suddenly my eyes widen with a newfound understanding of something I'd never thought of before, and I can almost hear Him laughing in His joy. So let me tell you what He whispered to me, because I found a glimpse of Heaven in Scotland.
Now you're probably thinking, Why Scotland ? What about... and you can quickly think of many beautiful places on this planet. But don't misunderstand. I didn't say Scotland was Heaven. Actually, I'm hoping it doesn't rain nearly that much in Heaven. But I did get a glimpse of it. Here's why.
Most of my ancestors were Cherokee (Native Americans of the Southeastern US) and emigrants who came to my country from Scotland and Ireland. I have spent a lot of time in the forests of north Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, walking and talking with God in these hills and mountains. But I had never been to the land of other parts of my family until I got the opportunity to go to Scotland. All my life I had read about that part of the world, studied its history, and seen countless pictures, but none of that prepared me for what I was to experience.
We drove through the rolling green countryside and over wandering rivers. We saw beautiful rainbows arching high over Loch Lomond before plunging into its cold waters. We passed through the beautiful valley of Glencoe, toured the misty Isle of Skye, and wandered through the rugged Highlands. One day as I looked out over yet another deep water loch surrounded by steep sided hills, my wife asked me what I was thinking. Then God whispered, and I answered, I feel as though I've come home.
Maybe it was because I'd never had a hometown growing up, a place I could say I'm from. Maybe it was because I had finally made it to a land I'd often dreamed of but never thought I'd see. Maybe it was because long ago Clan Graham lived there, and still does. Maybe it was all of that. But at that moment, I understood more of Heaven. This was a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father has waiting for me.
We are aliens and strangers in this world. (1 Peter 2:11) It doesn't matter where we live. This is not our home. Our home lies in a different land. It's a place we've read about and dreamed of. A place where many ancestors are and where cherished family and friends live even now. But while all of that is great and wonderful, that's not what's most important. There's more to it than that.
Scotland was beautiful, but what made it truly special was that God's Holy Spirit was there with me. And that is the key to Heaven...the full presence of God. As John heard proclaimed about that place, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:3b-4)
Life can be extremely difficult, but comfort is found when the Holy Spirit reminds us of what is waiting for us. This life...this world...is not all there is. There is more, so much more. There is home. And there is eternity with Someone who truly, deeply loves us. Look around. May you, too, catch a glimpse of Heaven.
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2-3)
Take care and be God's,
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