When a Wordsmith Can't Find His Words
This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or outside my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4 NLT)
The apostle Paul, the wordsmith who vividly expresses so much to us through his epistles, was left without words to describe what he heard and saw while in heaven. He encountered things “so astounding that they cannot be expressed.”
What would render you incapable of expressing yourself in words? Whether in the body or out, a vision or an actual encounter of the heavenly realm would cause you to catch your breath. Certainly, in beholding heaven, we will see beauty we have never seen before. The glory of the Lord will shine upon us. After even a glimpse of such beauty we would find words difficult to come by.
The apostle Paul describes heaven as paradise. One definition of paradise states that it is “a place of extreme beauty, delight, or happiness.”* Surely, we too would be without words if our eyes feasted upon the extreme beauty of the place God has invited us to share with Him.
We know heaven, God’s paradise, is a desirable place. The apostle Paul even wrestled with whether it would be better for him to remain on earth, teaching and leading in the early church, or to return to the paradise God allowed him to glimpse. In his words, “My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better” (Philippians 1:23 AMP).
To yearn means to have a powerful desire for something. This word stresses the depth and passionate nature of a desire.** Paul was passionate to return to paradise, so passionate that he said it would be “far, far better” to be there rather than to be living here on earth.
With this yearning, Paul followed in the footsteps of Abraham, the father of our faith who “went without knowing where he was going…confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God” (Hebrews 11:8, 10 NLT). As children of God, we are bound for heaven. Like Abraham and Paul before us, we can cultivate a longing for the presence of God in paradise—our true home.
* http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/paradise, accessed 12-13-2013.
** http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yearn, accessed 12-17-2013.