Gods Final Answer
At age 19, I traveled to the Territory of Alaska with my older brother to work on construction projects. We were both attending college, he in New York and I in Alberta, Canada. Our purpose was to earn enough money during the summer months to pay for our next year’s schooling.
While in Anchorage, Alaska, we attended a church called “The Church of the Open Door” on Fourth Avenue. If you stood on the steps of that small church building, in the distance you could often see Mt. McKinley. Today, people spend considerable amounts money to travel to the State of Alaska to visit Denali Park and look at that great mountain. As the highest peak on the North American continent, it is a beautiful sight which deserves the special attention it receives.
The Wheelchair Lady
However, there is something I remember about that church building more than seeing Mt. McKinley. Each Sunday, both morning and evening services, a lady in a wheelchair was in her regular place, next to the last pew on the right-hand side of the aisle. I have not seen this woman since my two summers of fellowship with that small congregation. I do not recall her name. Nonetheless, I have often thought about her. What I remember about her even exceeds the majesty of Mt. McKinley. How is that possible, you ask?
This wheelchair lady had a smile on her face when you greeted her that would melt the snow off the top of any mountain. No matter how unhappy or depressed you might be, that smile of hers would take it away.
Oh, yes, she knew she would never walk. She would never tramp around the bottom of Mt. McKinley or enjoy hiking in the park for a closer look. She knew, too, that she would probably never marry and, for sure, never have children. But if you listened to her talk, she had something more exciting than any of that. You see, she was able to see beyond even Mt. McKinley.
She had vision! She saw the resurrection.
God’s Final Answer: The Resurrection
The wheelchair lady knew that for a few short years, the congenital condition of her body would prevent her from fully tasting of physical life. But she had the understanding which God revealed to Isaiah. Her glowing appearance each Sunday was the reflection of eternity in her life. She knew the truth of what Jesus said to His disciples, “Because I live, you also will live. On that day, you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
She knew the daily affliction of her wheelchair did not approach the agony of soul and body and spirit which fell on Jesus as He suffered for her on the cross. Just as Isaiah saw the form of the suffering Servant hundreds of years before the crucifixion took place, the wheelchair lady looked back and took fresh assurance in that vision. She knew the resurrection was coming. She would be healed.
From the affliction of her wheelchair, she understood what the criminal on the cross saw: She saw victory, not defeat; she saw eternal life, not physical decay. She had heard what Jesus revealed to His disciples just before He went to the cross. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4, 19. This, too, is what Isaiah had seen.
Isaiah’s vision focused on God’s presence and the eternal. In a world of virtual reality and plastic body parts that may seem unexciting. But read what God says:
For the past troubles will be forgotten
and hidden from my eyes.
What was He looking forward to? Listen to what God says about the future He is preparing for us:
Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a
and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
That is the vision the wheelchair lady had seen. She had listened to the same voice that the Apostle John heard two thousand years ago: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ ” Revelation 21:3, 4.
Yes, the old order will pass away after Jesus’ return and our resurrection. But what about today? What is God’s provision now? Did Isaiah talk about that?
Heaven on Earth
Heaven is where God is. But have you ever heard the expression, “It’s like heaven on earth”? What does that mean? Isaiah did say something about that. Recall that he ended up probably being cut in two by a king who didn’t like what he was saying. So these words from his final chapter have significant meaning for us.
This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne, and
the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will
build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things?
and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.
“This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite
and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:1, 2.
Like the wheelchair lady in Alaska, can you accept the disappointment of your life as the shadow it really is? Can you adopt the heartbreak you are going through as something that will let the glory of God shine through? Can you take that illness which saps your strength and very life and say to the Creator, “Your will be done”? God may reverse all of your life’s troubles in this life—and He may not. But from the passage above, we realize God has promised to make His dwelling place with us now!
Heaven is where God is present. Why not accept Him into your life here on earth? Why not exchange that cup of bitterness, that stain of sin, that agony of soul for God’s promise and purity and peace? He waits for you to release that cup, full of what is afflicting you, so that you can receive the fulness of His presence. Remember that He has promised to never, no never, forsake you. That promise is for this age as well as the age to come.
I’ll Never, No Never, Forsake You
Sometime during the American Revolutionary War in the late 1770’s, someone wrote the words to what later became a hymn. While we don’t know the author, we know the author knew God. It is with the message from this unknown writer that we close. The words, drawing heavily from Scripture, give us the sense of direction and the way to stand in our lives. It points the way to the Valley of Vision where you will encounter God’s eternal love.
How firm a foundation,
you saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
in His excellent Word!
What more can He say
than to you He has said,
You who to Jesus
for refuge have fled?
Fear not, I am with you,
O be not dismayed;
For I am your God,
and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you,
and cause you to stand,
Upheld by My righteous,
When through deep waters
I call you to go,
The rivers of woe
shall not you overflow;
For I will be with you
your troubles to bless,
And sanctify to you
your deepest distress.
The soul that on Jesus
has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not
desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell
should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never,
no never forsake.
As you come to the end of this book, you may have also come to a decision in your life. You realize that you have attempted to rule your own private world without consulting with the Creator of the entire universe, yours included. Now, through the vision of a man who lived over 2,500 years ago, you want to allow God into your life to rule in your kingdom. If that is true, I would like to hear from you. Let me know how you came to your Valley of Vision and have seen God. The start of your new walk with God should include sharing your story with others.
God Bless You!
IF you, while reading this book, have decided to place God in control of your life, I would like to hear from you. Please use the following address when you write:
San Gabriel, CA 91778