Little Zenabu (which means beautiful in Swahili) had never seen snow before. His small village in Africa was situated in the midst of a desert, surrounded by low-lying desertous vegetation, and the hut he grew up in was built in such a way that it stayed cool on the inside, even in the midst of fierce afternoon heat.
One day his grandfather tried to tell Zenabu about snow. He said it was beautiful white crystals that fall from the sky and covered everything with a blanket of white. Zenabu’s response was to roar with laughter. What a vivid imagination his grandfather had! The only things that he had ever seen falling from the sky were occasional raindrops. Oh, and of course the birds that he shot down with his bow. But little white crystals? Ridiculous!
Then one day Zenabu and his parents moved to France, to the Alps. Zenabu was astounded by how green everything was. He had never had seen so many leaf-covered trees in his life! Then December rolled around, and along with it the first snowfall of the year. Little Zenabu awoke to a fairy-tale world. Everything was covered in white! The trees, the grass, his house, even his dad’s car! Amazed, he touched the cold substance. Then he picked up a handful and tossed it in the air. But that wasn’t enough, and the next thing his mother knew, he was rolling in the snow, waving his arms back and forth, unaware that he was making snow angels. He even built a small hut with it. That white material was out of this world!
Then he remembered his grandfather’s words and his heart skipped a beat. His grandfather had been right all along! He quickly scribbled a note to his grandfather, then taking a handful of the wondrous substance, he stuffed it, along with the note, into an envelope and mailed it. As he imagined his grandfather’s face when he opened the letter, he couldn’t contain his excitement!
The postman that day wasn’t too happy, however. The snow melted in the mailbox, soaking about a dozen letters. “Another prankster!” he muttered. “Wait until I find out who did this!”
As Christians, we are kingdom bound. The kingdom already exists in our midst, but it will be an even greater reality when we reach Heaven. Just imagine: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Rev 21:4 NIV) We will be reunited with departed loved ones, but the most excitingly thing of all is that we will be able to see Jesus face to face. We will be able to worship Him, to cover Him with our thankfulness. I can’t wait to run into His arms, to hug Him tenderly, and with tears streaming down my face, to fall on my knees before Him in loving adoration.
As Christians we know where we are heading. Death does not scare us: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55 NIV) In fact, when our days are over on this planet and we find ourselves on our death bed, excitement should overtake us because we know where we are going and nobody can rob us of this unfathomable reality!
Why is it, then, that so many believers live like there is no tomorrow? They go to church, but the rest of the week, they live defeated lives, filled with self-gratification and self-imposed depression. When they experience close encounters with death, they are left trembling with anxiety. The apostle John summed it up well: “Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backwards.” (1 John 3:5-6 The Message)
One question we need to ask ourselves daily is this: “How real is Jesus in my life?” We need to inspect our motives continually and make sure that we are heading in the right direction. “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.” (2 Cor 13:5 Message)
If for some reason Jesus has become less of a reality than the circumstances surrounding our lives, it is time for a reality check. It is time to fall to our knees and reaffix our attention on the One who should be our only reality. “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3 The Message)
Unfathomable reality? Maybe for those who never experienced Him in their lives, but for those of us who, like little Zenabu, have experienced first-hand the unfathomable reality, we should know better! Jesus is our only reality. He is our goal in everything we do. With Him at our side, we can face tomorrow with a huge grin on our faces.
Are you ready to head home?
P.S. Based on a true story