I am heartbroken when seeing images of the ongoing fire in Paradise, California. To date, 146 thousand acres are burned and the town itself devastated. So many structures were destroyed, over 11 thousand. But most importantly, 71 souls have been lost. And with over 1,000 unaccounted for, that number is sure to rise. The survivors run the spectrum of emotions, from thankful to bitter. I cannot imagine this pain of loss but I was saddened to hear one survivor blame God and ask how He could allow a town with the name, “Paradise” to burn.
Today’s verse is a promise of Paradise for a thief. He hung on the cross next to Jesus because he deserved to be there. He did not deserve Paradise. But Jesus made a way. He offers Paradise anew as mankind has lost it. With the sin and banishment of Adam and Eve from the garden, Paradise can no longer exist on this earth. There will always be fire, natural disasters, evil, sickness and death. God did not intend life to be like this. We brought it on ourselves. But He did give us a solution in the sacrifice of His Son.
There, in Paradise, I will live life as it was meant to be. There will be no pain, no sin, no guilt nor ugliness. There will be no regrets or dashed expectations! There will only be unending joy in His presence! It is so hard to imagine. But one thing is sure. It will be so much better than my imagination!
Thank you Lord, that because of You, Paradise can be found again!