Read first: Revelation 21 // Ecclesiastes 3:11 // John 14:2-4
With the Rocky Mountains forming a towering wall in the distance, we were about 20 miles outside of Yosemite National Park. My heart began to flutter as we approached these snow-capped mammoths. It was March, I was bundled in my beloved Patagonia jacket with the hood drawn up, camera in my lap with my neck permanently turned facing the window. I’m just an Ohio gal, acquainted with your standard set of rolling hills—I had no idea what I was about to intake. We passed natural lakes and saloon towns on the way in, the roads were winding with a dreamland resting just beyond. As an enthusiastic (but novice) climber, I had dreamt about Yosemite for quite some time. I was fascinated with various climbing documentaries, watching them multiple times. Through these documentaries, I had discovered the rich and fascinating history of rock climbing, specifically in Yosemite Valley. Within the walls of these mountains came many historical climbing feats, adding to the wonder that was (and still is) Yosemite National Park. The dreams of seeing this place for myself danced in my head and bounced off the ceiling of my local indoor climbing gym. To see and walk the valley floor of Yosemite was a dream of mine about to be fulfilled. Although I thought I was “educated” by watching all of these documentaries, they did not prepare me for the sublimity and massiveness of this place. If you have been, you know that magnitude of force that hits your chest when you drive in for the first time, getting your first glimpse at El Capitan and Half Dome. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or felt before. These, what were to me, celebrity monolithic characters, rose out of the ground to give me a warm welcome while also leaving me in awe and in overwhelming wonder. To know that something so much bigger than myself existed was soul-jarring.
In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” I love how this verse says, “he has put eternity into man’s heart”– a longing and yearning for more. This resonates deeply with me, especially after traveling to Yosemite. There are what we call “thin” places on this earth—a place that is so holy and beautiful that it almost seems accessible to the Divine, touching heaven’s brim. Picture it almost like a thin, sheer veil, knowing that God is on both sides. I do believe the Lord has made these spaces on earth for us to not only play in, but to be reminded of heaven and where we are headed; to know that He made both sides of the veil, heaven and earth. I love the juxtaposition at the beginning of this verse that explains how God has made everything beautiful in its time but there is still so much mystery mixed within our footsteps ahead. God knows that man’s heart is yearning while on this earth, because our home is not here.
In the midst of darker seasons and valleys, I often find myself asking, “Is it worth it?” and “Why does it feel like I’m being led in circles?” My small human brain cannot comprehend what heaven holds, grappling with the idea of a place where there is no temple infrastructure, only God as the temple. Grappling with the idea of a place that has streets of gold and amethyst gates. Grappling with a place where tears don’t fall and death collapses on itself for good. Grappling with a place that needs no sun because God is the light there. Revelation 21 is God’s small, still whisper to us that it is worth it—that there is no one who loves us how God loves us. There is a place prepared for us with valor and beauty. There is still room for us. I think so often we choose to surrender to the circumstances and aches we experience here on this Earth, forgetting that God is on this side of the veil too. We make our homes in depression. We build new ones on top of numbing devices (e.g. alcohol, exercise, Netflix, social media, shopping, etc.) to forget we are in pain and restless. We’re nomadic, constantly moving somewhere other than our true home. Revelation 21 continues with, “‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.’” Friends, can we not only rest in this but completely surrender to this? To know that we have a beautiful inheritance waiting for us that is not dusty or outdated and that there is still room for us at the table? Everything that happens on this Earth is but a mere vapor, dissipating with each second that passes. We are not abandoned, God is walking us home. Let’s lift our eyes to the sky knowing deep in our hearts where we are headed.