As I write this, I’m sitting at a boarding gate in Orlando International Airport. I’m getting ready to fly to Minneapolis to meet my wife so we can drive together in her car to our new home in Florida.

The past four months have been a time of transition here in Florida:  starting my new ministry position, renting a house, purchasing a new house, then moving out of the rented property and into our new home.

The only problem with this picture is that Terese hasn’t been able to be here for most of that time. She continued to work until she was able to take early retirement after 27 years of service.  True, she was able to come here a few times, but we also had many “goodbye for now” moments at the end of those days.

Finally, Terese’s retirement has happened, and I am beyond excited that she’ll be able to be with me full time. It has been tough being away from her, but as the old song said, “Love will keep us together”- and it did! It was actually God’s love that has sustained our relationship. During this time Terese and I prayed together and talked with each other multiple times each day:  She never left my heart and mind, even when we were physically away from each other.

Since being in the new home, I have been busy preparing it for her arrival: working with contractors and landscapers, putting shelving together, organizing things, and more. I also left some important things (i.e., decorating) unfinished until Terese comes so she can put her own personal touch on our new home.

It occurred to me this weekend that this time of transition for Terese me is a picture (albeit imperfect) of what Jesus is have been doing right now on our behalf.   While on earth Jesus made it clear that he has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for each person who says yes to Him:

“My Father’s house has many rooms, if that were not so, would I have  told you that I I am going there to prepare for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am”
John 14:2-3

Jesus is right now working on our behalf, preparing our eternal home that is custom-designed and built by God! And so we wait, expectantly and sometimes even a little impatiently, for Jesus to come and make everything new again. In the meantime God has given us the Holy Spirit as both a seal of our coming heavenly citizenship and home in Christ and THE powerful prayer Connector to God while we await Jesus’ coming.

Jesus is at work making our eternal home ready for us.  I can only imagine that it will be beyond our comprehension, and incomparable to anything we have known here on earth. This place will be perfect, custom-made by Jesus Himself for each of us, and incorruptible: No flaws, breakdowns, obsolescence, or decay.  The only thing missing in this picture is us!

One day Jesus will come back for His bride— the Church— just like I am returning to Minnesota to get my bride and bring her with me to Florida. I believe Jesus is patiently looking forward to the day when the Father says, “Now is the time!” and the culmination of God’s plan takes place. All those who have given their life to Christ will celebrate the victorious coming of our Lord. The best part of this new reality won’t be our eternal home, but that we will be with Jesus, the One whom we have been awaiting. In the presence of Jesus, we will spend eternity exploring the wonder of God and His new, hand-made, eternal home along with all those who love Him. It will be an amazing, forever family reunion.

Just like the reunion with my bride today!

God bless you!

Chris Atkins

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