“In my Father’s house are many rooms . . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
Every once in a while when I travel to speak at a conference, the organization puts me up in a five-star hotel. You know the type—lobbies with lavish flower arrangements, a staff that is sensitive to your every need, robes in the bathroom that are so big and fluffy you could safely fall into them from a five-story building, and exotic soaps ready to fill your shower with fragrant aromas.
I’ll admit I’m carnal enough to love staying in those kinds of places. Do I have a witness?
But here’s the flip side. Most of the time when I travel, I feel like I’m on a points program with every budget motel across the States. You walk in carrying your own luggage, wait in vain for someone to greet you as you bang the little bell on the desk next to the vase with the wimpy plastic flower in it. When you finally get to your room (on your own, thank you), you can’t help but notice that the towels look like somebody cut up some used sheets. On the sink there’s a tiny little bar of soap all wrapped up like they don’t want you to use it, and if you take it into the shower it goes down the drain.
So now, let me ask you, where would you rather stay—really?
Just as there’s no comparison between a five-star hotel and the local economy motel, we can’t compare our experience on earth with the wonders that await us in heaven. That’s not to say that there are no wonderful aspects about earth. Without question, God created a beautiful world for us to live in. But let’s face it: we’re a fallen race living in a fallen place, which means that, inevitably, living in this place is going to be a disappointing experience.
Which is exactly how the disciples must have felt when they met with Jesus in the Upper Room. They had been following Him for 3 years and thought He was the one who would make Israel a wonderful place to live. In their mind, they had won the lotto! They expected that He would restore Israel to its former glory and that they would be the big shots in the government. Until, that is, Jesus unraveled their dreams. In John 13:1-38, He told them that one of them would betray Him and that He was leaving them and they couldn’t go with Him. In the other gospels, we read that He also told them of His suffering and warned them of the fact that they would suffer for Him as well. But, knowing that no matter how bad it gets in this place, Jesus knew that He had a better place for them just down the road. So He turned their eyes to the future and said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . In my Father’s house are many rooms. . . I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). And, as Paul reminds us, it is a place that is “far better” (Phil. 1:23). What an amazing promise!
Of course, those of us who grew up in King James world might be wondering what happened to the “mansions.” If we’re totally honest, that probably has a lot more appeal than “rooms”! And in case you’re thinking about carrying a KJV with you into heaven and asking for an upgrade, don’t worry about it. When you are shown to your room, you can bet it will be like no other place you’ve ever stayed.
So, next time you feel that you’re stuck in a really bad place, don’t forget what’s ahead. As a friend of mine recently said, “If Jesus is your Savior, the future is your friend!”
- What aspects of life in this world are you looking forward to leaving behind?
- How does it make you feel to know that Jesus is preparing a place for you?
- Why is this promise important to you personally?