I finished listening to the audiobook, Heaven...Your Real Home From a Higher Perspective, by Joni Earekson Tada last week. As I've mentioned before, since my husband passed away, I have found comfort in reading about heaven. It gives me a glimpse into what he must be experiencing already—and all that awaits me. The reality of heaven has become more real to me.
If you've never heard of Joni Eareckson Tada, she is a remarkable woman who didn't allow her obstacles to make her useless. On July 30, 1967, she dove into the Chesapeake Bay after misjudging the shallowness of the water and became paralyzed from her shoulders down. During rehabilitation, she learned to paint with a brush between her teeth and started selling her artwork. She also learned to write that way. Now she relies mostly on voice recognition software. Here is a brief quote from her book.
“Hardships are God’s way of helping me get my mind on the hereafter. And I don’t mean hereafter as a death wish or an escape from reality; I mean hereafter as the true reality. And nothing beats rehearsing a few time-honored Scriptures if you want to put reality into a heavenly perspective. Like, every time my corset digs in my side, or I’m faced with a 4-week stint in bed, I look beyond the negatives and see the positives: I recall that pilgrims aren’t supposed to feel at home on earth; I set my heart and mind on things above and dream of the day I’ll see my Bridegroom; I remember the promise of a new body, a new heart and mind. And I think about the crowns I’ll be able to cast at Jesus’ feet. These things make up the soon and coming reality, so today, get your mind on the hereafter. The soul that mounts up to heaven’s kingdom cannot fail to triumph.”
~Joni Eareckson Tada
Before you leave for a vacation, how much do you dream about it and plan for it? Heaven is a trip we will take in the future. We might arrive there today, tomorrow, or years from now. If we are living in obedience to God and follow the teachings of Jesus, Heaven is our destination. This world is not our home.
"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come."
Hebrews 13:14 NLT
That being the case, I want to learn as much as possible about where I'm going. Interestingly, the more I focus on heaven, I find myself living more purposely in obedience to God—focusing on the needs of others, choosing to be patient, giving more selflessly of my time, etc. I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm striving to do better because my eyes are on eternity. I don't just want to make it to heaven. I want others to make it too, because the alternative is devastating. So, focusing on heaven makes me more useful on earth.
Joni tells bits and pieces of her story. Everything she shares is with an upbeat slant. You can't help but want to see life from her point of view. Although she shares some of her hardships and the challenges others face, Joni does not allow you to feel sorry for her or for her friends. It's difficult to feel sorry for someone who doesn't feel sorry for herself.
Whether you're battling grief or currently living on a mountain top, don't waste either experience. Reading this book helps you see life from a more accurate viewpoint. Heaven…Your Real Home From a Higher Perspective is engaging and thoroughly enjoyable.
January 19, 2022