Lenten Thoughts – Paradise

Paradise…I don’t often think on this concept. I’ve heard some people say that paradise is another word for heaven or is the ultimate place to live. That all things will be good there. That maybe it was like the Garden of Eden before sin entered.

Can you imagine Paradise? Is it something that we’ll be able to see and care for, I wonder…or is it more of a state of being?

I haven’t decided myself if Paradise is a place, an idea, or a state of being. Perhaps it’s something so big that we can’t comprehend it. As I said, it’s not something I think about often.

When I do start pondering about paradise, I wonder if it is more than just a place, a physical place…perhaps it’s more of a spiritual place. Though for some reason, I can’t shake the hope that paradise is both.

Perhaps, if it is a physical place, we’ll get a sense like Frodo did upon nearing the Undying Lands.

“Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing…it seemed to him that…the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” (Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien)

It just sounds so beautiful and calming. It sounds like a place where there are no worries, no tears, no death, no pain…just beauty and the freedom to glorify God.

When I do think of paradise, I hope that it is something like that….in that it is a place that you can just sense that there is no evil there because you are in the presence of God.

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I guess that’s what it is to me…finally being in the presence of God and being at peace knowing that His word has accomplished what He pleased and that it prospered in you as He sent it to do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Jesus said, “today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Perhaps that’s why I think of Paradise in the two ways I’ve mentioned.

  1. Paradise means being able to be with God, completely.
  2. Paradise is a specific place where we can be in God’s presence.

It reminds me of a hymn we used to sing at my Southern Baptist church where I grew up.

“No more crying there, We are going to see the King (verse 2)…No more dying there, We are going to see the King (verse 3)” – Soon and Very Soon by Andrae Crouch (#247 in Park Place Hymnals)

I loved that song when I was younger. I loved the idea of a place where I wouldn’t cry anymore because that meant there wouldn’t be a reason for tears – no hurts, no anger, no jealousy, no death…I wanted a place like that because I shed tears for everyone that was hurting. I knew that when I reached that place, my heart wouldn’t be breaking because of the pain and evil in the world.

That is my hope still. So I sing with the saints:

“What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,

And I look upon His face – the One who saved me by His grace;

When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the Promised Land,

What a day, glorious day, that will be.”

-What a Day That Will Be, Jim Hill (#243 in Park Place Hymnal)

 

*Written for Park Place Church of God

 

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