NOTHING BUT A GLIMPSE

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

For me, many things come to mind. I immediately think of my family which God has so lovingly blessed me with.  I think about some of the beauty of nature that I have seen throughout my lifetime, whether it be the mountains of Yosemite National Park or the untouched shorelines of southern Haiti; beautiful beaches or beautiful lakes.

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard?

My favorite songs come to mind when I reflect upon this question, among which as Great are you Lord and Always.  More beautiful than those songs are the words “I love you” which I hear from my wife and children.  I love to hear Noah tell me he loves me in his sweet little voice.  It fills me up and provides affirmation that he finds me loving.  I even love to hear my eight-month old daughter say “bubba,” which is what she calls my son. The sound of my children communicating is a beautiful thing.

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever smelled or tasted?

Food, food and more food.  I love the smell of good food.  Cinnamon is one of my favorite smells - not sure what more I can say about that.

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever touched or felt?

This would definitely be my family.  I love when I get to hold my children and read to them.  There is just something about holding them that brings joy and pride and love.  I love when Noah hugs me and squeezes my neck tightly - one of the greatest feelings in the world.

This life provides us with such beauty and engages all of our senses, but all the beauty of this life is nothing but a glimpse of what awaits us in heaven.  However, another reality exists as well.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever seen?

School shootings.  Not that I’ve ever seen one personally, but as teacher when I watch the news and see the death it bothers me deeply.  To see dead children and watch their parents grieve is an awful thing to see. Something that ranks as high as this would be when my children are sick, like “NICU” type of sick. You feel powerless as you look at them while they recover.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever heard?

When a student tells me his/her dad is simply their “sperm donors,” or “I hate my mom/dad because...”  It bothers me so deeply because it represents how broken the family lives of the children are today.  Often, their time is split with each parent, maybe they don’t even know their real parents, or find their parents so dysfunctional they can’t stand to be around them.  That affects a child’s core, their understanding of who they are and has a generational effect.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever smelled/tasted?

I went to Haiti several years ago and there was a smell on the island that I’ve never been able to explain, and if you smelled it your nose would immediately curl.  It’s the smell of charcoal and sulfur combined and it encompasses the entire island.  Everywhere our team went the smell was there.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever touched or felt?

The worst thing I’ve ever touched was definitely the feeling of a running circular saw as it cut into the end of my finger.  The pain was excruciating and even to this day I don’t have all the feeling I once had as the tip of my finger is numb.

This life provides us with such horrendous experiences that engage all of our senses...but all of this atrocity is nothing but a glimpse of what awaits those who choose hell.

So what is my point in asking all of these questions?

Everything in this life is temporary, both the beautiful and the horrible.  However, in a sense I think they provide us a glimpse of the eternal.  We can experience both the beauty of heaven and the gruesomeness of hell at the same time while we live this life.  What will heaven be like?  Imagine the beauty of everything you’ve seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted combined and we get a glimpse of heaven. The Bible is full of scriptures describing the beauty of heaven and the voice of God (Psalm 8, Revelation 4, Revelation 21).

What will hell be like?  

Imagine all the horrendous things you’ve seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted combined and we get a sense or hell.  The Bible is full of scriptures describing the agony we will feel in hell “where there is gnashing of teeth.”  

A VALUABLE INSIGHT

Thinking about these things provides us a valuable insight into the eternal life, one that will be either more beautiful than we can imagine or more horrendous than we can possibly imagine.  And eternal life greets us all, either in the form of heaven or hell.  As Christian we believe in eternal life, and we either choose to believe in Jesus, the One who saves and has prepared a room for us, or deny him and choose the one who has prepared a dungeon for us.  Which do we want?  Each day and every decision we make I believe moves us closer to one of these destinations.  May we choose to dwell on the beauty of this life and anticipate the beauty of eternity with Him, “where he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away… Behold, I am making all things new.” - Revelation 21:2-5