Friday, August 1, 2008

Castle In The Clouds

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:1-3 NKJV

Today Don and I visited Castle in the Clouds, one of the many tourist attractions in New Hampshire's Lakes Region. While we enjoyed our outing, we were a bit disappointed to discover that the "castle" is actually just an expensive home built in 1914 by a self-made millionaire who lost all of his money before he died. I had not realized that we could have saved ourselves the ten dollar admission by opting instead to take the virtual tour of the mansion which, while very extravagant and technologically advanced for its time, failed to fill us with the admiration I had anticipated. In fact, many brand new luxury homes are similar in size; modern builders simply replace the servant's quarters with children's bedrooms and an office, the pipe organ with surround sound wiring, and the once-progressive "needle shower" with a jetted jacuzzi tub.

The most outstanding feature of this historical attraction is certainly the view. Built on the summit of a mountain that overlooks the surrounding lakes, the home would be worth the multi-million dollar price tag just to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Don and I felt like we were cheating a bit when we stopped the car to take this picture instead of having to hike up a mountain to see it. I always feel a bit closer to God when I'm looking down on a vastly beautiful view of His Creation, and realizing that what seems like so much to my eyes is but a tiny fraction of the world He made. It almost looks like you could step right into the clouds, doesn't it?

On the way back to our rented lake house, our conversation turned toward finances, jobs, and the possibility of buying a home. Would we be able to manage a house payment on our current income? What if Don gets a second job? Should we wait for him to get a raise at work, or until we have saved up a 20 percent down payment, before we start seriously looking? Or should we buy whatever we can afford right now, while market prices and interest rates are so low? We were recently preapproved for a mortgage, but bank approval does not necessarily mean heavenly approval. No matter how much we dream, research, and plan, we cannot walk through the doors of our own home until God Himself opens them.

When I spend too long dwelling on such thoughts, the Holy Spirit is quick to remind me of the songs Don and I sing to our children about the mansions waiting for us in Heaven. A tune from Steve Green's Hide 'Em in Your Heart CD keeps John 14:2 repeating in my head. Even if we never own a home on this earth, we have treasure that moth and rust cannot destroy. Someday, we will go home to the arms of our loving Savior, who will show us the rooms He has prepared just for us. What then will it matter whether I lived in an apartment or condo or cabin or palace? Yes, I am looking forward to the day when Don and I will have a place of our own, where we can paint the walls any color we like and maybe even have a yard where our children can play. But that day cannot begin to compare with the blessed day when I will go to my true home to spend eternity in my Father's house.

A castle in the clouds? You could call it that, but don't expect a stale collection of antiques with a gift shop outside the door. This castle is a mansion fit for a King, and there is a special place there just for me.

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