We used to occasionally watch the show “Extreme Home Makeover” with Ty Pennington. Each week a different family was highlighted, and the awful home conditions they lived in. They were given an all-expense paid vacation while Ty’s team went to work. Then the family would be bussed back. With Ty and his crew present, and surrounded by the entire local community, Ty would shout to the bus driver, “Move that bus!!” The family always gasped, screamed, cried, or fell to their knees in utter amazement, joy, and thankfulness, for the beautiful new or remodeled house they had been given. It always choked me up too!
I think each episode gripped me so because each family had a unique story, told at the beginning of the show. Some were single parents, some out of work, some living at or below the poverty line, most barely getting by. Yet they always were doing the best they could, where they were, with what they had. And they often were very giving and selfless, from what little they had. Then suddenly, their homes were transformed, and their lives, beyond their wildest dreams. It was a beautiful show.
I am reminded of Jesus’ poignant promise in John 14:2-3, when He states, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you…” As Ty and his team worked hard to prepare a new home for each family, our Lord is hard at work preparing a beautiful new home for each of us who have believed in and loved Him. As we live out our own stories in this often difficult life, He gives the hope and promise of a much better life to come, filled with wonder, splendor, beauty, discovery, adventure, intimacy, joy- beyond all of our wildest dreams. And I’m sure our reactions will exceed even those on “Extreme Home Makeover”.
I think we have misconceptions of what Heaven will be like. We often think of it as a place of clouds, white robes, harps, choirs singing, etc. And when you read Scripture, there certainly will be all of those- especially at the beginning, like a universal Olympic opening and closing ceremony before the Throne of God. It will be colossal, magnificent. But that’s only the beginning. Everything we have ever been amazed by, awe-struck over, and dearly loved in this life, will be magnified and multiplied a million times over for eternity.
Life here, however, is full of hardships as well as joys. I know friends who have lost jobs, families who lost homes, had children who ran astray from the faith, had to hospitalize or bury loved ones. Marriages have fallen apart, lives have crumbled. We all have experienced these, will sometime in the future, or know some who has. And yet as Christ-followers, we have promises like this from our Heavenly Father– “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” -Romans 8:18. Those who have gone before us can’t wait to see our faces, watch our reactions, when we get there ourselves. Talk about the ultimate “Extreme Home Makeover”! It makes me want to bring along as many as I can, share this Good News with as many as God brings across my path.
“When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!”