Define paradise. Do you think of white sands, palm trees, tropical weather, and clear turquoise waters? Even in these pristine conditions, the sun can get too hot or it can rain. And it’s usually expensive, too. Most of the food and water has to be imported at any place you might consider for an island vacation, which increases the price. There are too many external influences which can cause paradise here on Earth to break down.

Nothing short of Heaven can offer total seclusion from the pain, anxiety, and failure of life. But there is a day coming when sorrow will not always have the upper hand. God will remove every reason for despair and every cause for tears. We will be able to experience unhindered fellowship with Him—and that will be true paradise.

Maybe your idea of paradise is the bliss of marriage, a job where you will make a six- figure income, a family without conflict, or a house in the “right” neighborhood. Too often, we look toward a change in our setting or circumstances as the source of happiness and fulfillment. We tell ourselves, If only I had ______, I wouldn’t have the problems I face right now. But the truth is, not even Heaven itself would be “paradise” if God were not there. God’s presence makes it the wonderful place we dream about. This means you and I can experience the peace of paradise right here, right now because God is with us and in us through the Holy Spirit. Seek Him with all your heart, and you will find true paradise—don’t wait until Heaven.

What Hell may be, I know not. This I know, I cannot lose the presence of the Lord. . . . Where I go He goes; and better fire-walled Hell with Him than golden-gated Paradise without. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.