Robert Olson has published a book of photographs and essays titled, “Alaska – Hints of Paradise”. This book is crammed with beautiful photos of the Alaska scenery and animals. The snow covered mountains and green valleys are gorgeous. The caribous, bears, moose, and doll sheep are some of the animals of Alaska for which they are very proud. Without a doubt our most northern state has some sites that are second to none. No one who has been there would ever question the title of Mr. Olson’s book.
Nonetheless, all the states within our country have scenery that leaves us with a thought of heaven. However, to me, I still have a special love for Hawaii. My family and I lived there for almost four years and the beauty did remind us of heaven. This was especially true, when I would return from the Continental U.S. in the winter time.
On the flight’s approach to Honolulu International Airport, I cherished looking out the window and the view of the blue waters, the waves, the beaches, the palm trees, and the green grass. Many times after landing I could see a rainbow like an umbrella painting the sky over the peaks of the mountains. The contrast of leaving a place that seemed so dreary and bare in the cold winter compared to such wonderful scenes gave me the thought of what heaven would be like.
The United States has many heavenly sights. In our southern states the snowy white covered fields of cotton gives the resemblance of the purity of God and heaven. The gorgeous flowers of California and the painted desert of New Mexico are as if God took a paint brush and created them with His own hands. Yet, when we compare anything on this earth to the description of heaven as seen by the Apostle John, I am afraid the earth doesn’t have a smidgen of the beauty. John wrote, “The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold like transparent glass” (Rev. 21:18 and 21, NKJV).
Considering all the imaginable thoughts of heaven, the one characteristic that is above everything is the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, He walks with us and talks with us down here below, but heaven will not be complete without standing in His presence and looking into His face singing “glory to the Son of God”.
While our heavenly home is in the future, we must continue to trod this earth living with Jesus in our hearts knowing we are already citizens of heaven. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body according to working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21, NKJV). In essence this world is not our homes we are just passing through. Therefore, let us not be idle, but set our sights on things above while still working for our Lord in preparing others for their permanent home with us in heaven.
As I have had to deal with COVID-19 and all the effects of it on my body. It makes me long for Heaven all the more. I hope you have that hope as well.