Homecoming: The end far outweighs the beginning

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This past weekend, my husband and I traveled with my in-laws to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.  We had a wonderful long weekend in that absolutely gorgeous city! Not only was the weather perfect with hardly a cloud in the sky most of the time, but Quebec City is like stepping back in time.

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I have heard that if you want to experience France without having to fly (if you live in the U.S.), Quebec City is the place to go…and that comment was true.  I loved hearing French being spoken all around me and seeing every sign in French! The architecture was exactly like Paris and I felt like I was there when we were walking through the streets and eating in small cafes!  20160903_103314_resized.jpg

Quebec City is a 5.5 hour drive for us from New Hampshire, so on the way up I had time to visit with my in-laws and time to think.  During one of my pensive moments, I got thinking about traveling and how much I LOVE to do it! I love planning a trip, packing my bags and especially starting out on the road…wherever that may be.  Essentially, I love leaving the house and getting in the car with all of my expectations and anticipation bubbling inside.

Then I thought about how I don’t like the end of the trip.  I’ve blogged about this before in the post, “Wish you were here… “, but I don’t like heading home at the end of a vacation. I have never thought, “Gee I wish this vacation / trip / visit was over already. I really want to get back to work / cleaning / dishes / laundry.” Homecoming is always bittersweet for me, and is often accompanied by what I refer to as “Post-party Depression”.  Party’s over and it’s time to go home.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love my family, my home and my job. And I really am fond of the town I live in and all that there is to do where I live.  But there’s just something exotic and adventurous about heading out into unknown territory.

So as I was musing on the excitement I was feeling while we headed north to Quebec, I correlated the joy of the journey to our walk with God.  We’re all on a journey with the Lord.  The Bible refers to our journey as a path, as a race, as a walk, and even a run.  (I notice that the Bible doesn’t say we’re on a drive!)

I distinctly remember the exhilaration I felt when I first came to know the Lord and felt the immense weight of sin lift off my shoulders.  I remember the awe of being able to enter His presence and finally understand what the Bible was talking about!  The beginning of the journey was stellar, to say the least.

But this journey is different than the journeys I take for vacation or even for work because this is the journey where the end is going to FAR outweigh the glory of the beginning.  For as wonderful as coming to know Jesus was for me, and for how much incredible ‘scenery’ I have taken in over the years, the end of my journey is going to blow the doors off anything I have ever experienced in either the natural realm or in the spiritual realm.

1 Corinthians 15: 51-58

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The end of this journey, if we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives, is going to be a homecoming like nothing we’ve ever imagined or dreamed about.  In fact, we have absolutely no frame of reference for this homecoming.  How can you picture, imagine or conceive of seeing the Lord face-to-face, never experiencing pain, sorrow or loss again, never having to feel ashamed, guilty or wrong, being reunited with loved ones and never having to say good-bye again. This homecoming is where every difficult season and every tear is wiped away and a joy unspeakable and full of glory becomes tangible, no longer a hope but our eternal reality.  This is the end of the hard journey where everything is wrapped up in the love of God and made perfect. Sin and fear will have lost their footing forever and death will no longer be an enemy.

Isaiah 25: 7-9

On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,“Surely this is our God;we trusted in him, and he saved us.This is the Lord, we trusted in him;let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Now you:

  • Do you ever struggle with homecomings after a vacation?
  • Do you wish that the “good times” could go on forever and you could experience the relaxation of the vacation ceaselessly?

While the Bible doesn’t say that we will float around on clouds with harps when we go to heaven (Thank God! I’d be so bored!), it does give us incredible pictures of what the new heavens and the new earth will be like and how we will forever be with the Lord and each other. Our homecoming is going to be glorious and the stress and striving of this life are going to be rewarded.  I love how Paul tells the Corinthians that in light of the amazing reward lying ahead for them, they should always stand firm, letting nothing move them and they should keep up the hard work for the Kingdom because the reward FAR outweighs the sacrifice!

Be encouraged.  When life is tough, the future is brighter!

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