Thankful for Heaven
By Rob Johnson
Today we celebrate Thanksgiving, typically with the day centered on the great Thanksgiving meal: turkey (I’m a lucky dark meat fan in a house full of white meat lovers), stuffing (not too mushy), mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. As a nation, we set aside the fourth Thursday in November to be thankful and eat with friends and loved ones. Of course, the main meal makes us thankful. But it’s just symbolic for all the things that make us thankful.
Like many families, my family goes around the table and asks everyone to share what they are thankful for this year. Families, friends, good health and a free country usually top the list. One year a young niece was thankful for her long hair. And I recall a nephew mentioning a new girlfriend. My wife takes her grattitude a different direction. I’m sure she loves her family, friends, and country, but she is always thankful, simply, for “heaven.”
Unfortunately, some years we come to Thanksgiving and it is difficult to feel thankful. Some years are fraught with poor health, loss of family members or friends, and a lot of unrest in our country. Some years the losses outweigh the wins. Even then, we can always be thankful for heaven. In fact, the daily struggle can help keep our eyes focused on heaven.
“Our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven,” says Philippians 3:20. In heaven there will be no more knees that don’t work. Minds will be clear. We will be reunited with loved ones who have gone before us. Our joy will be full. Heaven will be peaceful, joyful, wonderful.
We long for more than this earth. That’s how God made us. The Bible says that “God has planted eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes. 3:10 TLB). We all yearn for a life beyond this one. We are not fully at home here because God created us for heaven.
Sometimes we get glimpses of heaven here on earth. Something great happens and we feel such joy; a new grandchild or great-grandchild, a family wedding. For me occasionally I get a glimpse of heaven through nature. Walking through the vibrant fall leaves with my new dog in the mornings. Even walking around Waverly Gardens reminds me of the beauty that awaits me in heaven. The rose garden, the flowers by the entrance, the waterfall – all are reminders of the Creator who I will meet in heaven.
Rob Johnson serves as Campus Pastor at Waverly Gardens, a PHS senior living community in North Oaks, MN.