April 20

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

My way led up a hill, and right at the foot I saw a boy on a bicycle. He was pedalling up hill against the wind, and evidently found it a tremendously hard work. Just as he was working most strenuously and doing his best painfully, there came a trolley car going in the same direction—up the hill.

It was not going too fast for the boy to get behind it, and with one hand to lay hold of the bar at the back. Then you know what happened. He went up that hill like a bird. Then it flashed upon me:

“Why, I am like that boy on the bicycle in my weariness and weakness. I am pedalling up hill against all kinds of opposition, and am almost worn out with the task. But here at hand is a great available power, the strength of the Lord Jesus.

“I have only to get in touch with Him and to maintain communication with Him, though it may be only one little finger of faith, and that will be enough to make His power mine for the doing of this bit of service that just now seems too much for me.” And I was helped to dismiss my weariness and to realize this truth. (Streams in the Desert)

I cannot write as an authority on the future state of believers, but I am learning to recognize heaven here and now. Heaven, like grace, is present tense, and I write from personal experience that heaven on earth is living in close proximity to who and what one loves most. In that regards, I have found paradise; more accurately, paradise has found me. The most discerning, scintillating, jocular, and alluring woman I’ve ever known calls me “Darling”; precious grandchildren, daughters and sons-in-law call me “Papa,” intriguing neighbors and special others call me “friend.” I’m blessed with residential space to breathe without urban interference; plank fencing marks our boundaries rather than cement sidewalks, and caliche replaces asphalt. Prominent sounds in the distance are not those of urban sprawl; instead, Barred Owls beckon to one another, a Kingfisher rattles out near the pond, and the ever-present Phoebe wheezes on a nearby limb. And if that’s not enough to qualify as an earthly Elysium, I’m surrounded by books galore (Cicero said “A room without books is like a body without a soul”), enjoy fulfilling employment, retain the semblance of a brain, and, to top it all off, admit to darn good health for a man in his mid-50s.

I would never denigrate the thought and reality of our future state; I do, however, emphasize unapologetically the potential for embracing the Father on this side. I abide best in him, when I work at extolling his grace that benefits this breath and blesses this day. I accept the challenge of not living in the wake of what I once was. In place of always approaching sunset, I choose to rejoice over perpetual sunrise in this life and the next.

Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:28-30, KJV)

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