By Alan Bailey

Paradise found

tropical island

Happiness is surely a universal pursuit. We all want it. I cannot imagine anyone leaping out of bed in the morning and saying "I hope this is going to be a really unhappy day."

Contentment is a goal but sometimes it acts like a mirage. It's just up ahead, or round the corner, soon to be realized – but ah, notoriously elusive. Just when it seems to have arrived, something happens to spoil it.

I'm not alone in thinking that life brings up too many troubles. Relationships go sour, finance is a headache, people disappoint you and all combine to bring your feelings downward.

Repairing situations, looking for improvements and hoping for better luck seem to be the stuff of life. Nevertheless, the years roll on and there is more and more of the same awaiting.

If one's personal situation is hovering around the good mark, the news of what is happening to others will disturb our peace. Day by day we hear of crime, war and poverty. Throw in some natural disasters. Once again the ideal we long for goes missing.

The notion of undisturbed bliss has long been the dream of human beings -- in the next life more than in the present, perhaps.

Notice how comments are made when notable people die, assuming the departed are in heaven, looking down on us. Yes, even in a secular and materialistic society, men and women hope for a release into paradise when death comes.

However, this also may be an empty dream, a wistful longing based on nothing. We need a voice of authority to tell us the truth. Here we have hope. Someone has shed light on the subject. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ taught us about a heavenly home which outlasts all else.

The place where God is; not found somewhere in the natural universe, but in another realm. A place where no disappointments will occur, where more than all we could wish for will prevail.

But notice this. We are shown in the Bible that no sin, nothing evil or defiling will enter there. Certainly none who refuse to believe God's word and who go their own way in life will be included. God, who is holy, can have nothing that is contrary in His presence. In other words, as we are, we are not worthy.

How good that Jesus pointed the way for us. He is the way, the truth and the life. We come to God through Him. Because of His suffering death on our behalf, our sin and unworthiness *have been dealt with. A door has been opened. On our part there needs to be a change of mind, turning from our own way and trusting Jesus as our Saviour.

This is God's plan as revealed in the Bible.

Christians can confidently look forward to the realization of unbroken joy up ahead. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

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