Summary: A study of chapter 57 of the book of Isaiah verses 1 through 21
“Are we there Yet?”
After serving for many years in Africa, a missionary couple was returning to the United States to retire. They had no pension; their health was failing ... they were very discouraged. They happened to be on the same ship coming home as the then President Teddy Roosevelt who was returning from one of his hunting trips to Africa. As they all gathered on the ship that day no one paid any attention to the missionary couple. Everyone’s eyes were focused on the President.
During their voyage the missionary said to his wife, “something is wrong. We have given our lives in service to God in Africa all of these years and no one even cares. But the President returns from a hunting trip and that’s all people can talk about.” When the ship docked in NY a band was playing, waiting to greet the President. The mayor was there. His arrival was talked about in the newspapers. But no one was there for the missionary couple. That night the missionary said to his wife, I can’t take this anymore... clearly God is not treating us fairly. His wife sais well why don’t you take some time and pray about it and see what God tells you. So he did and he returned later. She said well how did it go. He said well I complained and complained to the Lord... I told Him exactly how I felt.. No one was there to greet us and when I finished complaining it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on me and said. Remember, you are not home yet. This earth is not our home. You are not there yet.
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul said it this way, OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, NOT HERE.
In this passage Jesus is speaking to his disciples these are the words He leaves them with. John 14:1-4.
When Jesus spoke these words and said, In my Father’s house these words changed everything. We have to understand that at that time the scripture/Bible had not been finished. They hadn’t read the passage in the NT we have available to us today. So they really didn’t understand. That’s why when Jesus said in verse 4, you know the way to the place where I am going that Thomas responded by saying, Lord we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know how to get there? It’s like I say hey come see me some time and you say OK where do you live and I say I’m not gonna tell you.
But Jesus makes it personal here. He says in my Father’s house there are many rooms (KJV says mansions) Rooms is more accurate. The important thing here is that there is a place, a specific place reserved for those how know Christ.
One of the questions we have as we think about Heaven is this, what is Heaven like? Well first of all at the outset all of us have to understand that no description we can give is adequate. But if we are going to attempt to describe it, then there is only one source and that is the Bible. That doesn’t mean we can’t read other books on Heaven– just be sure they are based on scripture.
Paul said, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. Write this down. Heaven is a place that defies the imagination. Our minds cannot fully comprehend/understand what it will be like. I read this week of a ten year old girl who had been blind from birth. The only descriptions she knew of what this world looks like were when her mother in the spring would describe the flowers, she would describe the trees in the fall, the snow in the winter but still she could only imagine how everything actually looked. Then at the age of ten she had an experimental surgery done on her eyes . She wore bandages for several weeks and then the time came to remove them. And she could see!!!! She was so excited she could hardly breathe. She hugged her mother and said why didn’t you tell me all of this was so beautiful? She replied I tried to but I just couldn’t find the words. Heaven defies description. How do you explain to someone who is blind what the color red looks like? You can’t.
Now let’s look at some things we do know. 1. We have already said that Heaven is a specific place. 2. Heaven is our real home. 3. In heaven there will be no tears. There will be no pain of any kind, no death, no sorrow. Revelation 21:4. You may know who Joni Erickson is. Thirty years ago she was in an accident while swimming and became a quadriplegic. One of the things that she learned to do was to draw and paint pictures. She does this by placing a paint brush in her mouth. Amazing. Listen to what she says about Heaven. “Heaven has become my heart’s home–it is the place where I will finally belong. It is the place where I will get aa brand new body. She says in heaven God is going to give us the key that will make sense of what now seems to be senseless suffering.