A Better Country by Far

A Bahamian beach

"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 21:4, NIV)

Last week I received a devotional that didn't stop haunting me. The writer referred to the fact that although he knew he was heading for heaven, he was terrified of death. I wondered how this could be…

Let me illustrate this with a parable.

Imagine a country that is renowned for its beauty. The sun always shines, and the temperature hovers around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). The President is caring and loves each one of his inhabitants. He would give his right arm to help anyone. This country is quite different from the others in this world. No one in this country suffers from any illness. Death is an unknown entity. No one in this country understands the meaning of pain. Everyone is happy and cares for one another. No pain, no tears, no illnesses, no death!

Would we be willing to leave everything behind to go live in this country? Who needs money when everyone cares for one another? Who needs possessions when everything is provided to us for free? Would we be scared to move there? Would we miss our friends, our neighbors or even our boss?

Who among us would decide that the move would not be worthwhile? Yes, life would be different, but imagine no more bills, no more doctor's appointment, no more funerals, with all of your illnesses evaporating into nothingness. You are healthy again and loneliness is a word from the past. Who in their right mind would not hunger to move to this country? Forget anything we have here, this country is better by far!

This is how the first century Christians viewed heaven. They were persecuted, but they were not hopeless. Some were stoned to death, others eaten by the lions in the Coliseum in Rome, others were crucified, and all of them had but one thought in mind: It was an honor to die for Christ! "Even if I am executed here and now, I'll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ's altar, a part of your rejoicing." (Philippians 2:17, MSG)

As a result, the apostle Paul went to his beheading with a smile on his lips. After all, didn't he declare: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." (Philippians 1:21-24, NIV)

We have nothing to fear. We are going to a better place by far, where pain, death and suffering is a thing of the past. Who among us wouldn't want to experience this?

Rob Chaffart

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