That ruthless invader of all happiness!
(John MacDuff, "Grapes of Eschol")
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. In My Father's house are many mansions! I am going there to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with Me — that you also may be where I am!" John 14:1-3
The verse speaks of PERMANENCY — they are "mansions." The word in the original is not a tent or temporary shelter — but a durable residence, never to be altered or demolished. "The tents of the East," says Professor Hackett, "seldom remain long in the same place. The traveler erects his temporary abode for the night, takes it down in the morning, and journeys onward. The shepherds of the country are also always moving from one place to another. The brook dries up on which they relied for water, or the grass required for the support of their flocks is consumed — and they wander on to a new station."
How strikingly illustrative is this of the Bible figure, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands!" 2 Corinthians 5. This mortal body, like the nomadic tent, is up-reared for a time — but, after serving its temporary purpose — it is, pin by pin, demolished, and the place that once knew it, knows it no more.
Not so the ever-enduring mansions of our Father's house! "A priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is reserved in heaven for you — pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!" 1 Peter 1:4. No failing of brooks there! No joys there will be withered and smitten like the grass of the wilderness. "The Lamb in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters!"
Ah! it is the saddest, the most humiliating feature of the joys of earth, that, however pure, noble, elevating they may be at the moment — there is no calculating on their permanency. The mind will, in spite of itself, be haunted with the dark possibility of that ruthless invader of all happiness coming and dashing the full cup in a thousand fragments on the ground!
But in Heaven, no shadow of vicissitude or change can ever enter to dim an ever-brightening future! Once within that heavenly fold — we are in the fold forever! On the lintels of the eternal mansion are inscribed the words, "You shall never leave it!" Our happiness and joy will be as immutable and stable — as God's everlasting love and power and faithfulness can make them!