Life Isn’t Always Paradise Even When You Are Staying There
Today as I write I am sitting on the lanai of a condo on Sanibel Island. Sanibel is a place many call paradise. It truly is a beautiful place with palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze, the sound of the waves hitting the shore and the magnificent variety of seashells which are scattered along the shoreline. I can hear squeals of delight from children playing in the sand as they run back and forth by the waves. For a few days I am blessed to call this place home. However, just because you’re staying in a place which is like paradise doesn’t mean it is.
For instance, while Sanibel is beautiful, it is also home to many, many almost invisible insects called noseseums and they are nasty little buggers that bite you, but you may not know it until you have welts and non-stop itching. Some people are not bothered at all by them, but I happen to be one of those who are allergic and the bites make me miserable. I’ve been awake half the nights we’ve been here because of the itching. I’ve done my best to avoid them and have taken the necessary precautions to prevent these pesky little characters from feasting on me including spraying my legs with insect repellent containing DEET, but somehow I end up with more bites. I went to CVS to ask the pharmacist what he recommended and purchased some anti-itch lotion, but it doesn’t work very well. Needless to say, life isn’t always paradise even in a place which looks like paradise.
My battle with the noseeums is nothing compared to the struggles many of you are dealing with on a daily basis. We all have trials, troubles and suffering. Some of you are facing the biggest trial of your life at this very moment. Maybe you have lost a job, or a loved one. Perhaps you are struggling with an illness or battling an addiction and are feeling defeated. No matter what you are going through, as a child of the King, true paradise is coming. A place where there is no more suffering or pain. The temporary things which we sometimes call paradise are just that… TEMPORARY and FLAWED. Adam and Eve knew what true Paradise was, but as a result of their fall and the entry of sin into the world, all of mankind lost their right to the original Paradise.
The good news is Jesus changed it all. Jesus’ death made it possible for us to once again live a life of eternity in Paradise. Remember the thief on the cross who had no hope, but was given hope because he believed Jesus was the Son of God ? Jesus told him, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Life in this world will hand us circumstances which seem unbearable, but the promise of hope and faith in Jesus Christ is a healing balm which will soothe the soul. Many times people say God will never give you more than you can handle, but that isn’t in scripture. What God does promise is He will never leave you alone.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you, he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
For the unbeliever in Christ, this world is the only heaven they will ever receive. Incredibly sad, but true. Their paradise consists of temporary fulfillment, not eternal happiness.
Our true paradise is coming! Everything which has broken our hearts, given us great struggles and made us question why, will be gone. Our tears will be wiped away and we will stand in the presence of our God in our permanent paradise, Heaven.
“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.” – Revelation 21:4
This place is not our paradise. Yes, there are some places in the world which mimic paradise, but it will never compare to the place Jesus has been working on for over two thousand years. Whatever, you are struggling with today, know you are loved by the Father. Just as Jesus did not forget the thief on the cross, he hasn’t forgotten you and I.