Today I went for a walk with the kids in the countryside surrounding the village in which we live, an area consisting of farmland, dirt paths, and small woods. The weather was great, so it was a good opportunity for the kids to get some fresh air and exercise as they ran around looking for the little creatures that are abundant in spring and summer.
It was an enjoyable break for me as well. Out on those country trails there are no computers, no pressing work, no chores, no meetings, no messes to clean up, and none of the myriad of other things that keep us busy most of the day.
When Japan’s Sanyo Shinkansen “bullet train” was first put in service, residents along the train line complained about the noise level. About half the line was made up of tunnel sections, and the train would produce a tunnel boom on exiting due to the sudden change in air resistance.
The engineers pondered the problem until one of them remembered having read about a bird with a unique design feature, the kingfisher. To catch its prey, the kingfisher dives from the air, which has low resistance, into high-resistance water—and it only creates the smallest splash upon entry. The engineer surmised that this was due to the shape of the kingfisher’s beak being perfectly suited to deal with such changes in resistance.
Every year, a month or so before Christmas, I used to go to the same office to renew my visa. My visit there was usually made easy by the help of Judy, one of the office staff.
One year, after several minutes of small talk, Judy burst into tears. Her husband’s cancer had returned—he had already had one tumor removed from his liver—and his doctor said he didn’t have long to live. “Thomas is only 42,” said a tearful Judy, “and our two sons are so young!”
My grandparents’ 1920 farmhouse was graced with solid oak floors and woodwork, and there were “registers,” adjustable grates in the floors that made it possible to regulate the flow of warm air that passed through ducts from the furnace in the basement to each of the upstairs rooms. My cousin and I had great fun talking to each other through the registers.
“Are you there?” one of us would ask from a downstairs room.
“Yes, I’m here,” the other would answer from an upstairs room. “How are you down there?”
Fasten your seat belt! We are about to leave the drab and restrictive domain of the Flatlander and delve into the thrilling realm of the spirit world!
Come now and tune in to the mysterious dimension of eternal realities: the living world of forever rather than the dying world of now, the everlasting realm of eternity rather than the temporary space of time,the fascinating dimension that is largely unseen by us in mortal flesh, rather than this mundane plane, which is so temporary.
Death is part of the life cycle,not the end of life. This is evident throughout nature, but perhaps nowhere more clearly than in the example that Jesus gave His disciples when preparing them for His death. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop.”1
Paul the Apostle elaborated on this analogy when explaining our “end,” which will actually be our new beginning. “When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same ‘body’ it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or something else. But God gives it a body that he has planned for it, and God gives each kind of seed its own body. … It is the same with the dead who are raised to life. The body that is ‘planted’ will ruin and decay, but it is raised to a life that cannot be destroyed. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is without honor, but it is raised in glory. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is weak, but when it is raised, it is powerful. The body that is ‘planted’ is a physical body. When it is raised, it is a spiritual body.”2
I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God. I want to know one thing—the way to heaven.
The world is but a great inn, where we are to stay a night or two, and be gone; what madness is it so to set our heart upon our inn, as to forget our home?