As it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9
Both my ancestors, and those of my wife, came from Germany.
To find out more about our heritage, our children have been making sporadic trips to the Internet's home page of Ellis Island (www.ellisisland.org). Every time they find some of our history they share the "old" news with the entire family.
For those of you who don't know, Ellis Island was the processing spot for more than 22 million immigrants to America. That meant, every day, thousands of newcomers came to the U.S. through that government outpost. Think about that for a moment. All of those folks left behind everything they had and for a myriad of reasons came to seek their fortune, their freedom, and their future in America.
Although they had never seen the Promised Land, they still believed where they were going to was better than what they had. For them that belief was enough to bring them here. In New York harbor, they tilted their necks and gazed for a long time at the statue called "Liberty Enlightening the World." Then they would go through the lines of immigration and inspection.
On occasion a newcomer had to stay in a dormitory room while they were being processed.
I wouldn't be surprised if some of the immigrants, having lived in utter poverty, thought that room almost palatial. Some might have thought it can't get any better than this. A foolish thought, isn't it? What they were seeing was a small room on a small island. America offered them more, so much more than those four walls.
The same can be said about all who think this world, with all its material stuff, is all there is.
The truth is this: because of humankind's disobedience and disregard of its Creator, this world is second rate; its promises are second rate; its rewards are second rate, and everything about it is faulty, fleeting and failing.
God wants us to have more, much more than this world can offer.
To make sure that "much more" is ours, He sent His Son into this world. So that we might be forgiven, so we might be saved from the forces of darkness, Jesus offered up His life as the price that would save the souls of humankind from eternal damnation. So we might be rescued from everlasting punishment, Jesus was rejected, renounced and murdered. But the cross is not the end of Jesus' story. Three days after His lifeless body had been buried He rose from the dead and confidently assures us that because He lives, we will live also.
Now I can no more tell you what heaven is like than I could describe America to that person confined to four walls on Ellis Island. But I do know this: God's gift of paradise is far bigger and better than we can imagine.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus' life, death and resurrection show us the greatness of Your love. May I give thanks for present blessings and look forward to that which "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him." This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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