We were not prepared for the elegance and grandeur of the hotel. The lobby was enormous and expensively decorated. The chandeliers sparkled and the floor gleamed. First class service, bell hops and valet parking were all offered as amenities.
Even the people wandering about had an extravagant flair. Men were dressed in tailored business suits, fitted tuxedos or expensive sportswear. The women were stunning. Many wore formal party dresses or clothing that obviously came from an expensive boutique. I felt like we were in a wonderland for the rich and famous.
It took every ounce of willpower to keep myself from gawking. My three children, however, had no such inhibitions and certainly no power to control their amazement.
“Mom, look at that staircase!”
“Dad, look! It’s a round couch!”
“Wow! Can I go up the stairs?”
“Can I push the elevator buttons?”
“Look at that lady! Is she a princess?”
“Is our room near the pool?”
“Are we in the right place?”
I certainly didn’t feel like we were in the right place. Surely there had been some mistake. The room I’d booked over the internet only cost $50. I checked my receipt to be certain that this was the correct hotel. The polite man at the front desk checked our reservation and confirmed that we had paid in advance.
I looked at myself and my family. We’d driven for eight hours and it showed. Our hair was messy. Our shorts and tee shirts were wrinkled. Our luggage wasn’t adequate and didn’t match. The kids’ faces still had evidence of the chocolate road snacks. Their shirts were stained from juice drinks and soda.
Hushing the children, I assured them that we were in the right place and we confidently picked up our bags and walked to our room.
Life doesn’t always fit in neat compartments. Things don’t always go according to plan. Our sinful nature can cause stains and wrinkles on our souls. We can’t always hide our tragedies and heartbreak from our faces. The consequences we bear can often be like that mismatched luggage; ugly, embarrassing and cheap. All the good things we do, all the good deeds we’ve done will never be enough to pay our way into heaven.
God’s grace over looks our flaws. If we believe in Him and accept His son as our Lord and Savior, He sees past the wrinkles, stains and the excess baggage. He looks to Jesus who says, “Yes. Your reservation is confirmed and has been paid in advance.”
There is no place on this earth that can prepare us for the awesome sight heaven will be. There is no mountain, no sunset, no sprawling vista, no valley, no river, and no ocean view that can compare to heavens grandeur. Man has never, nor will he ever build or decorate anything like what Jesus is preparing for us.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not worthy. None of us are. We will all arrive at heaven’s gates weary from our travels, disheveled and carrying inadequate luggage. None of us have paid what our entrance is really worth. Yet God will accept us, wrinkles and all. The blood of Jesus has paid the price in full and we will be transformed.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-22)
Maybe once I get to heaven, God transforms me and everything is perfect, I will finally have matching luggage!
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