When my wife and I moved to the Northwest, it was to live in a place that we knew would be a “family friendly” environment. We wanted a place that would be closer to our families (my brother, mother, and my wife’s dad and extended family all live nearby), would provide actual green vegetation, and provide a good quality of life.
Before we came up from Southern California, we scouted out some property in Oregon, where we decided to have a home custom built. We planned that in this home we would raise our family and live comfortably until retirement. We ended up with a beautiful home, with nearly an acre of land, and a very family-friendly community in which to live.
However, God had different plans for us. Now, about nine years into it all, we are preparing our house for sale. It is bittersweet. I am so thrilled about the path God is leading me and my family down. But, this was our dream. It was comfortable. It was nice. It had everything we wanted. Yet, we must now face the reality that we must give it up to follow God’s leading.
When I think about it, I can’t imagine how Jesus must have felt when He had to give up everything. He actually had to leave Heaven to go to a place that was in utter chaos: Earth. The scriptures only give us a glimpse at what Heaven actually looks like. Mostly because I don’t think words can describe the splendor, beauty, and comfort of that place. John tries to capture it as best he can when he writes in Revelation 21:10-21:
10 So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. 12 The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. 13 There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. 17 Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel).
18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. 19 The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.
Wow! It sounds pretty amazing! This is so much more than a custom home with a little bit of land. This sounds like, well, Heaven! When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we all have the hope of being there someday.
However, Jesus actually had to give this up to come down to the Earth and rescue us. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:9:
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
Seeing how much Jesus had to give up (just at the beginning, let alone sacrificing His life) makes our current experience seem so, so tiny. He truly did sacrifice everything He had just to bring salvation to all who call upon His name.
Earthly moving is stressful enough. Imagine if you had to give up a home that was handcrafted by God Himself. He did it for you and me.