Year’s End Reflection on Going Home

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1, 2

GOING home! what a soothing reflection! what an ecstatic prospect! The heart throbs quicker—the eye beams brighter—the spirit grows elastic—the whole soul uplifts its soaring pinion, eager for its flight, at the very thought of heaven. “I go to prepare a place for you,” was one of the last and sweetest assurances that breathed from the lips of the departing Savior; and though uttered eighteen hundred years ago, those words come stealing upon the memory like the echoes of by-gone music, thrilling the heart with holy and indescribable transport.

Yes! He has passed within the veil as our Forerunner; He has prepared heaven for us, and by His gentle, wise, and loving discipline He is preparing us for heaven. Amid the perpetually changing scenes of earth, it is refreshing to think of heaven as our certain home.

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

This is no quicksand basis for faith—no mirage of hope. Heaven is a promised “rest”—exquisitely expressive image! And that promise is the word of Him who cannot lie. Nothing can surpass, nothing can compare with this! Human confidences—the strong and beautiful—have bent and broken beneath us. Hopes, bright and winning, we too fondly fed, have, like evening clouds of summer, faded away, draping the landscape they had painted with a thousand variegated hues in the somber pall of night. But heaven is true! God has promised it—Christ has secured it—the Holy Spirit is its earnest—and the joys we now feel are its pledges and “first-fruits.”

The home to which we aspire, and for which we pant, is not only a promised, it is also a perfect and permanent home. The mixed character of those seasons we now call repose, and the shifting places and changing dwellings we here call home, should perpetually remind us that we are not, as yet, come to the perfect rest and the permanent home of heaven. Most true indeed, God is the believer’s present home, and Jesus his present rest. Beneath the shadow of the cross, by the side of the mercy-seat, within the pavilion of a Father’s love, there is true mental repose, a real heart’s ease, a peace that passes all understanding, found even here, where all things else are fleeting as a cloud, and unsubstantial as a dream.

“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

But it is to heaven we look for the soul’s perfect and changeless happiness. With what imagery shall I portray it? How shall I describe it?

Think of all the ills of your present condition—not one exists in heaven! Bereaved one! death enters not, slays not, sunders not there. Sick one! disease pales not, enfeebles not, wastes not there. Afflicted one! sorrow chafes not, saddens not, shades not there. Oppressed one! cruelty injures not, wounds not, crushes not there. Forsaken one! inconstancy disappoints not, chills not, mocks not there. Weeping one! tears spring not, scald not, dim not there.

“The former things are passed away.”

There rests not upon that smooth brow, there lingers not upon those serene features, a furrow or line or shade of former sadness, languor, or suffering—not a trace of wishes unfulfilled, of fond hopes blighted. The desert is passed, the ocean is crossed, the home is reached, and the soul finds itself in heaven, where all is the perfection of purity and the plenitude of bliss. Ages move on in endless succession, and still all is bright, new and eternal. Oh, who would not live to win and enjoy a heaven so fair, so holy, and so changeless as this? He who has Christ in his heart enshrines there the inextinguishable, deathless hope of glory.

Enough that God is my Father, my Sun, and Shield; that He will give grace and glory, and will withhold no good and needed thing. Enough that Christ is my Portion, my Advocate, my Friend, and that, whatever else may pass away, His sympathy will not cease, His sufficiency will not fail, nor His love die. Enough that the everlasting covenant is mine, and that that covenant, made with me, is ordered in all things, and sure. Enough that heaven is my rest, that towards it I am journeying, and that I am one year nearer its blessed and endless enjoyment.

*Regarding the next to last sentence in the final paragraph, I differ in how I understand the eternal covenant, and would say it this way:  It is a covenant made before the creation between the persons of the Godhead to secure the salvation of the elect. I don’t see it as being made, “with us”, but, “for us and for our sake.” – Larry


Our Future Joy and Gladness

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Evening Thought

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10

The absence of all evil will be an eminent feature of the coming glory. Take the long catalogue of ills we suffer here—the cares that corrode, the anxieties that agitate, the sorrows that depress, the bereavements that wound, the diseases that waste, the temptations that assail—in a word, whatever pains a sensitive mind, or wounds a confiding spirit; the rudeness of some, the coldness of others, the unfaithfulness and heartlessness of yet more; and as you trace the sad list, think of glory as the place where not one shall enter. All, all are entirely and eternally absent. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The presence of all good will take the place of the absence of all evil. And in the foreground of this picture of glory we place the full, unclouded vision of Jesus. This is the Sun that will bathe all other objects in its beams. We see Him now through faith’s telescope, and how lovely does He appear! Distant and dim as is the vision, yet so overpowering is its brightness, as for a moment to eclipse every other object. How near He is brought to us, and how close we feel to Him! Encircled and absorbed by His presence, all other beings seem an intrusion, and all other joys an impertinence. Reposing upon His bosom, how sweetly sounds His voice, and how winning His language: “O my dove, that are in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; for sweet is your voice, and your countenance is lovely.”

These are happy moments. But how transient, and how brief their stay! Some earthly vapor floats athwart our glass, and the bright and blissful vision is gone—veiled in clouds, it has disappeared from our view! But not lost is that vision; not withdrawn is that object. As stars that hide themselves awhile, then appear again in brighter, richer luster, so will return each view we have had of Christ. The eye that has once caught a view of the Savior shall never lose sight of Him forever. Long and dreary nights may intervene; the vision may tarry as though it would never come again, yet those nights shall pass away, that vision shall return, and “we shall see Him as He is.” And if the distant and fitful glimpses of the glorified Christ are now so ravishing, what will the ecstatic and overpowering effect of the full unclouded vision be, when we shall see Him face to face?

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“His heavenly kingdom.”
2 Timothy 4:18

Yonder city of the great King is a place of active service. Ransomed spirits serve him day and night in his temple. They never cease to fulfill the good pleasure of their King. They always “rest,” so far as ease and freedom from care is concerned; and never “rest,” in the sense of indolence or inactivity. Jerusalem the golden is the place of communion with all the people of God.

We shall sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in eternal fellowship. We shall hold high converse with the noble host of the elect, all reigning with him who by his love and his potent arm has brought them safely home. We shall not sing solos, but in chorus shall we praise our King.

Heaven is a place of victory realized. Whenever, Christian, thou hast achieved a victory over thy lusts–whenever after hard struggling, thou hast laid a temptation dead at thy feet–thou hast in that hour a foretaste of the joy that awaits thee when the Lord shall shortly tread Satan under thy feet, and thou shalt find thyself more than conqueror through him who hath loved thee.

Paradise is a place of security. When you enjoy the full assurance of faith, you have the pledge of that glorious security which shall be yours when you are a perfect citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem.

O my sweet home, Jerusalem, thou happy harbour of my soul! Thanks, even now, to him whose love hath taught me to long for thee; but louder thanks in eternity, when I shall possess thee.

“My soul has tasted of the grapes,

And now it longs to go

Where my dear Lord his vineyard keeps

And all the clusters grow.

“Upon the true and living vine,

My famish’d soul would feast,

And banquet on the fruit divine,

An everlasting guest.”