The Glad City of God
If you believe the Bible, you know our world is headed towards a very, very dark time. The world has heard our doom and gloom preaching about the end of the world for quite some time. They mock and ridicule, but what they misunderstand about the birth pangs of the suffering that is coming is all the while, God showing mercy. He granted time for repentance. That door is nearing its closing. Just like the preaching of Noah, which warned that world of the coming judgment, as he was preparing the ark, told them to turn from their wickedness. They mocked and jeered, scoffed, and laughed until the first drops of rain began coming down. God called unto Noah to "Come into the Ark," and he, his family, and all the animals obeyed the voice of the Lord. Then the Bible says, "the LORD shut him in" (See Genesis 7:16.) The time for mercy was over. The time for judgment had come.
It's not unnatural to want to enjoy this life or the earth that God has placed us on. There is a secret heartbreak at the thought of the coming judgment that we believers often don't talk about lest we are thought "unspiritual." We forget that God made this earth for man and man for this earth. We have a longing for stability and security. But alas, our spiritual roots cannot take hold in this sin-cursed earth. Take heart! There is a city and earth that God will plant us in that we will forever enjoy and find the fulfillment of our desire for gladness!
Though the streams of this world are finite, there is a river in that glad city of God that will forever flow to bring joy and gladness to the inhabitants. It's not some mystical, incorporeal city. It is a literal habitation for those whose names are found in the citizen's registry: the Lamb's book of life. We can find joy and peace in this life when we realize that our security and settlement are forever in that glad land.
What makes this land glad isn't the fact that it has a river, but its that this river flows from the very throne of God Himself.
1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
There is nothing that we can lose on earth that can diminish that joy in that city except our love for God. That is the one thing we must hold to with all our being while we are here in these turbulent times. There is this fanciful idea that once you get saved, everyone in heaven is going to have the same things. Those people most likely will be the least rewarded of all because Socialism is not becoming of the Kingdom of God. You cannot work for salvation, correct. You will not get a reward for anything that you did not earn in the power of Christ, also right.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Our service to God here matters. If we lose our love for our God because our circumstances are hard or unfavorable, we'll slack off. Let's not slack off.
Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care.
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.
"I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same." --C. S. Lewis